Does this video prove Steve Smith is innocent? New footage NOT shown on TV reveals crucial moment before star batsman scuffed crease a
Does this video prove Steve Smith is innocent? New footage NOT shown on TV reveals crucial moment before star batsman scuffed crease and sparked cheating accusations
- Steve Smith dragged boot across the batting crease of Rishabh Pant
- Outrage ensued, with claims Smith cheated and was trying to distract Pant
- Ex players piled on, but Australian skipper Tim Paine backed his best batsman
- Smith defended himself saying marking guard is one of his ‘quirks’
- Full video of incident shows SCG staff brushed the area before Smith arrived
New video has emerged showing the crucial moments before embattled Australian cricket star Steve Smith scuffed Indian batsman Rishabh Pant’s guard.
In the video, posted to Twitter, two SCG ground staff walk across the area, sweeping it with a hard broom and repaint the batting crease before Smith arrives.
It’s difficult to see how Pant’s guard would have remained visible when Smith arrived and marked centre.
The full footage was not shown live in Australia but it was seen live in some international coverage of the vital third test match of the series.
Video aired on TV of Smith scuffing the pitch sparked fresh cheating allegations and accusations the star batsman has not learned from the ball tampering scandal that cost him the captaincy in 2018.
SCG ground staff (pictured) swept the batting area and repainted the crease likely clearing Rishabh Pant’s guard before Steve Smith dragged his boot across the line
But Fox chose not to show the ground staff touching the area, only footage of Smith appearing to rake the crease with his boot in clips of the incident released the next day.
The controversy boiled over with Smith forced to defend himself from Indian fans accused him of cheating again, and criticism from former international players.
‘With all the cameras around these days, and Smith’s history with the sandpaper, you have to reach the conclusion that he can’t have two brain cells to rub together,’ England great David Lloyd wrote.
‘What was he thinking — if he was thinking anything at all?’
TV coverage showed Steve Smith (pictured) marking the pitch with his boot before Rishabh Pant returned to the crease
Indian cricketer Rishabh Pant (pictured) had to remark his guard when he returned to the field, something every batter does after a break
Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag and former England captain Michael Vaughan also joined in, both criticizing Smith.
Smith defended himself saying he had barely slept since and was ‘shocked and disappointed by the reaction’ at the response:
”It’s something I do to visualise where we are bowling,’ he told The Daily Telegraph.
‘It’s something I do to visualise how the batter is playing our bowlers and then out of habit I always mark centre.’
‘It’s such a shame that this and other events have taken away from what was a great batting performance by India yesterday.’
Australian captain Tim Paine – who replaced Smith after his 2018 ban – defended his best batsman.
‘He was certainly not changing guard, and I’d imagine if he was then the Indian players would have kicked up a bit of a stink at the time.
‘That’s something I have seen Steve do many times in Test matches and Shield games I’ve played with him.
‘When he’s in the field, he likes to walk up to where he bats and visualise how he’s going to play.’
Steve Smith was at the centre of more controversy three years after the ball tampering scandal
Interestingly, a current England player, bowler Chris Woakes believes the incident has been ‘blown up’.
‘It’s hard for me to sit from here watching from a million miles away and say he was doing it to get into the Indian batsman’s mind,’ Woakes said.
‘The fact that it’s such a big series, a big player and a big moment probably has meant it’s been blown up a little bit. But look, there’s only one person who knows whether he was doing it to affect the opposition batsman or not, and that’s Steve himself.’
In 2018 Smith was banned from all cricket for a year and after ‘sandpapergate’, an incident in which Cameron Bancroft used sandpaper to scuff the ball against South Africa in an effort to influence the match result.
Smith admitted being involved in the plan and was charged by Cricket Australia with bringing the game into disrepute.
He was barred from holding any leadership role for a year on top of his one year ban from playing.
Chris Woakes (right) has had his say on the row surrounding Steve Smith (left)