Smith was seen scuffing up the area around the batting crease on day five of the third Test between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Social media users started questioning the Australian batsman for his gamesmanship.
“He was not trying to cheat, but he should not be on the wicket. I am really, really concerned about some of our behaviour. Steve Smith scored a fantastic hundred in Sydney and the way he reacted afterwards, I thought, there is a real anger there,” Lee told Fox Cricket.
“It is disturbing…I m seeing the same signs as before Sandpapergate). I am seeing someone like Smith who is getting really, really angry,”
Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were handed bans for their involvement in the ‘Sandpapergate’ (ball-tampering scandal) in 2018 against South Africa in Cape Town. Warner and Smith returned to action in 2019, but Lee believes that Smith lately has been looking very angry and this is not a good sign.
“I think that Smith, Warner and Bancroft should have been punished for what they did. It was appalling. But the way they were handled by Cricket Australia – they were given no support,” Lee said.
“I am feeling really worried about this guy (Smith). I really want Cricket Australia, or someone within that organisation, to make sure this guy’s all right, because he’s a champion batsman and he’s not a cheat. We really need to look after these guys from a mental-health perspective,” said Lee.
Batting out 258 balls with a fierce home team throwing everything it had up its sleeves is no mean feat. But the Indian duo of Hanuma Vihari and R Ashwin stood ground and managed to do just that as they eked out a draw on what was an action-packed fifth day of the third Test.
India and Australia will lock horns in the fourth and final Test at the Gabba, Brisbane, beginning January 15. The hosts had won the first Test, while the visitors came back strongly to win the second. The series stands level at 1-1.