Steve Smith was a part of the trio that was caught in the Sandpapergate scandal, during Australia’s tour of South Africa in 2018. Smith was also the Australia team captain at that time and had to bear a maximum of the punishment – 1 year ban from cricket and 2 years ban from captaincy.
The ban is served but the ghosts of Smith’s past are yet to leave him.
Anything that’s remotely suspicious has been and will be held against Steve Smith, as was seen during the recently concluded drawn Sydney Test between Australia and India. A video of Smith scuffing Rishabh Pant’s guard, during a drinks break in the 1st session of Day 5, made rounds on social media. And there it was, Smith was tagged as a ‘cheat’ again.
While Australian coach Justin Langer has rubbished those accusations, so has captain Tim Paine and Smith himself, a Sports Integrity expert with Cricket Australia has warned the world-class batsman to be careful of his on-field actions.
“With Steve Smith he’s obviously under a lot of attention by the world media and I just think you’ve got to be really careful with how your actions and behaviour are perceived – and he’s under the microscope more than others,” Core Integrity chief executive Darren Murphy told 7NEWS.com.au.
“Whether his actions constitute cheating, it’s not for me to say. (But) once you transgress in a sport, whether it’s for off-field behaviour issue or elsewhere, you’ve got to expect you’re going to be under the microscope.”
Besides the accusations on Smith, Australia skipper Tim Paine’s onfield behaviour from Day 5 of the Test was also under the scanner. Paine had a lot of chatter and eventual exchange with India’s Ravichandran Ashwin.
Murphy believes that Paine did not cross a line in his sledging the Indian off-spinner.
“I might be a bit contrarian with my view here but I think the sledging thing has been a bit overplayed if I’m honest. Trash talking and sledging is a common thing in any sport at most levels and I personally don’t think there’s an issue with a bit of trash talk but I think you’ve got to make sure it stays within the bounds.
“Stay away from attacking someone for their race, religion, gender, sexuality and those kind of things and don’t make it too personal, then I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a bit of competitive trash talking,” he added.
“It’s been blown out of proportion, I understand they may have gone back a bit in terms of how people think of Tim Paine and his leadership but he’s admitted he was at fault. The number rule with trash talking is back it up and he didn’t.”