Former Australia captain Steve Smith was involved in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal during the Cape Town Test match against South Africa. Apart from him, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were also involved in the infamous Sandpapergate scandal.
Steve Smith and David Warner were banned by Cricket Australia for a period of 12 months and on the other hand, Brancroft was handed a nine-month ban from the sport. Following the ban, Smith made a remarkable comeback to the sport by scoring 774 runs in the Ashes series against England.
After the ban, everyone thought that Steve Smith has changed completely. Nonetheless, Smith showed his true colors during the third Test match at the SCG as he was caught on the stump cameras doing something fishy.
The former Australian skipper used dirty tactics to unsettle Rishabh Pant by removing his guard mark during the drinks break of the fifth and final day of the SCG Test. The video of Smith removing Pant’s guard spread like wildfire on social media sites.
Following the incident, former cricketers, analysts, and fans slammed Smith for his dirty antics that ruined the spirit of the game. The majority of the fans labeled Smith as ‘cheater of the decade’.
Tim Paine defends Steve Smith
While the entire cricket fraternity lashed out at Steve Smith for his act, the Australian Test captain sprung into Smith’s defense by coming up with a valid explanation at the post-match press conference.
While speaking to the media reporters, Paine defended Smith’s act by adding that No.2 ranked Test batsman wasn’t really trying to change Pant’s guard on the judgment day of the SCG Test.
The Test captain also revealed how Smith was totally disappointed with how his on-field actions are actually perceived because it was just a routine exercise which he quite often does in every game.
Paine added that Smith does that every single Test matches 5 or 6 times a day. “He is always standing in the batting crease, shadow batting, as we know he has got those sort of many Steve Smith quirks, so one of them is he is always marking sand,” he explained.
Smith was not changing Pant’s guard: Paine
Paine also further added saying that if there was really an issue like if there was changing of the guard marks, Team India would have complained. Paine himself clarified that Smith often does this many times in Tests and Shielf games since he has played with him.
Smith usually walks up to where he actually bats and then he imagines or visualizes how is he going to play. “There is no way in the world, he was trying to change Rishabh Pant’s guard or anything like that.
That is just one of Smithy’s things that he does, now that it has come up like it is, again it is something he might need to look at because of the perception of it,” Paine added. “One of his mannerisms, as I said he does a lot, he was marking sand and he wasn’t by any stretch of imagination trying to change guard or do anything like that,” Paine concluded.