Australia’s premier batsman Steve Smith is “shocked and disappointed” at the controversy created by the allegations levelled against him for a purported video where he is seen scuffing up the guard mark of Indian batsman Rishabh Pant on the fifth day of the third Test. A video footage showed Smith scuffing up the batsman’s guard during drinks break in the first session on Monday. Pant scored a fluent 97 to raise India’s hopes for a win. India managed to draw the match and keep the series at 1-1.
Saying that he was ‘shocked and disappointed’ at the reaction to his behaviour, Smith noted that it was something he has done in the past to visualise how opposition batsmen are approaching their bowling.
“I have been quite shocked and disappointed by the reaction to this,” Smith told the Daily Telegraph.
“It’s something I do in games to visualise where we are bowling, how the batter is playing our bowlers and then out of habit I always mark centre.”
Australia skipper Tim Paine had also defended Smith’s actions, saying the batsman has a number of unusual quirks that he indulges in during matches and this was just one of them.
“I have spoken to Steve about it,” Paine told reporters on Tuesday. “He is really disappointed with the way it has come across.
“If you watch Steve Smith play Test cricket that is something he does every single game five or six times a day. He does this a lot.
“He is always in the batting crease batting. As we know he has those many Steve Smith quirks. One of them is that he was always marking centre. He was certainly not changing (Pant’s) guard.
“I imagine if he was the Indian players would have kicked up a bit of a stink at the time. I have seen Steve do it many times in Tests and games I have played against him.
“He likes to visualise how he is going to play. Yesterday you could see him up there playing shots as a left-hander to where he wanted Lyono to pitch the ball.”
The final Test of the series begins on Friday (January 15) at Brisbane.