‘He is 100 percent innocent’ – Justin Langer backs Steve Smith after SCG pitch-scuffing story
'We've laughed about how all he thinks about is batting, says Langer.
Updated - Jan 13, 2021 12:16 pm
Justin Langer, the head coach of the Australian cricket team, has backed Steve Smith after the latter was greeted with criticism following the Sydney pitch-scuffing saga at the Sydney Cricket Ground. In a video on social media, Smith was seen at the striker’s end, after which Rishabh Pant had to take a fresh guard. Smith’s actions didn’t go down well with the netizens.
Even former England captain Michael Vaughan took a dig at the 31-year-old for his actions at the SCG. However, Langer, also a former Australian cricketer, was clear cut in saying that Smith wasn’t guilty and the talks around him are uncalled-for. Langer was of the opinion that on the hard Sydney track, it wasn’t possible for Smith to make an impact with his short spikes.
I’ve never heard so much rubbish in my life: Justin Langer
“Everything said about Steve Smith is absolutely ludicrous … The wicket at the SCG was like concrete, he would’ve needed 15-inch spikes to do what people were accusing him of doing and messing up Pant’s guard,” Langer was quoted as saying during a press conference ahead of the Brisbane Test.
“We’ve laughed about how all he thinks about is batting. He was just standing there, thinking about batting. He is 100 per cent innocent in this. Give me a break, I’ve never heard so much rubbish in my life,” Langer stated.
Earlier, Tim Paine, the Australian Test skipper, also had Smith’s back, saying that ‘marking the pitch’ is what the latter has done innumerable times.
“If you’ve watched Steve Smith play Test cricket, that’s something he does every single game five or six times a day. He’s always standing in the batting crease, shadow batting. As we know, he’s got those many Steve Smith quirks, and one of those is he’s always marking centre,” Paine told.
The controversy, somewhat, overshadowed Smith’s performance with the bat in hand. In the first innings, he weaved magic, scoring 131 runs before Ravindra Jadeja ran him out. In the second innings, he got 81 runs before Ravi Ashwin accounted for his wicket. He will now be looking to make an impact in the fourth Test, starting January 15 at The Gabba in Brisbane.