Steve Smith’s scuffing act in the third Test in the recently concluded series against India has drawn mixed reactions from experts and fans of the game. While many claimed that he did it to distract Rishabh Pant who was batting for India, others believed that the deed was unintentional. Former England cricketer Sir Alastair Cook wasn’t the one to pick sides saying this is something no one will ever really find out but he did believe that the whole thing was taken a bit out of context.
“I think, given what’s happened [with Smith], obviously everything is going to be talked about. I think like anything in a series when you try to put the opposition off, it’s been taken a little bit out of context,” Cook said on Thursday in an interview with RadioTimes.com.“Whether it is intentional or not, only he will know but, yeah, it only makes you more intrigued,” Cook added.
The controversy started on the final day of the SCG Test after Smith was seen shadow-batting at the striker’s end and scuffing the crease, following which Rishabh Pant had to mark the guard afresh. The footage soon went viral on social media as angry Indian fans alleged that he was trying out tricks to affect the rhythm of the batsman.
Smith expressed his disappointment later saying that shadow-batting was something he does on a regular basis to “visualise where [they] are bowling and how the [batsman] is playing bowlers.” He said he marked the crease out of sheer force of habit and that the issue was blown out of proportion.
Cook also praised team India’s efforts to achieve the near-impossible task of beating the Australians in the series. He said this would help the English figure out how to play the Aussies when they face them. “India have done a job on them in this series and almost showed the way to play against this Australia side,” said Cook. He gave team India the full credit for giving nothing away and wearing the Aussies down eventually.