Steve Smith’s shadow batting controversy has returned after Indian batsman Rohit Sharma replicated the move just metres from Smith during a break in play.
With Smith and Cameron Green talking on the side of the pitch at the end of an over, Sharma casually walked onto the pitch and pretended to take guard and execute a back foot defence when standing on the crease.
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Sharma’s cheeky act in front of the former Australian captain comes just days after Smith was accused of cheating for producing a similar act during the Third Test in Sydney.
Smith also scuffed his stump marks on the SCG pitch in a move some cricket commentators interpreted to be a deliberate attempt to throw Indian batsman Rishabh Pant out of whack as he took guard against the Aussie attack.
English great Daren Gough even called it “plain cheating”.
Former England skipper Michael Vaughan called it “very very poor” while Indian legend Virender Sehwag wrote Australia had “tried all the tricks including Steve Smith trying to remove Pant’s guard marks from the crease”.
Steve Smith was an interested onlooker.Source:FOX SPORTS
Many others didn’t believe Smith’s explanation that is was a simple moment of shadow batting that was blown way out of proportion. A storm in a tea cup.
Smith famously shadow bats almost everywhere he goes, including into the early hours of the morning when staying at a hotel with teammates.
There has been no furore surrounding Sharma.
Smith said he barely slept after the test finished in Sydney as his integrity was questioned for an act the Aussies say many players do.
The vision saw Smith shadow batting as a left hander — like Pant — before he marked centre with his foot.
Pant then returned and marked all three stumps again.
“I have been quite shocked and disappointed by the reaction to this. 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,” Smith told News Corp.
“It’s such a shame that this and other events have taken away from what was a great batting performance by India yesterday.”
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