'Wasn't even aware': India break silence on Steve Smith furore

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·2-min read
An Indian coach has revealed none of their batsmen even realised Steve Smith had been at the crease, saying the whole controversy 'does not matter'. Pictures: Getty Images/Fox Sports
An Indian coach has revealed none of their batsmen even realised Steve Smith had been at the crease, saying the whole controversy 'does not matter'. Pictures: Getty Images/Fox Sports

India aren't jumping at Steve Smith's shadow batting, dismissing his much-maligned marking of centre on day five of the SCG Test as a non-story.

Smith wandered over to the batting crease during a drinks break on Monday, trying to put himself in Rishabh Pant's shoes as Australia hunted the wicket of the dangerous batsman.

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The former skipper then marked centre as if he were batting, igniting a flood of criticism.

Former England paceman Darren Gough declared Smith was "totally out of order" and guilty of "plain cheating", while former England captain Michael Vaughan argued it was "very, very poor".

Coach Justin Langer called both Gough and Vaughan, later declaring publicly that "I've never heard such rubbish in my life".

India's batting coach Vikram Rathour, who oddly filled in for captain Ajinkya Rahane during Thursday's pre-match press conference, was the first member of the touring party asked about the incident.

Rathour agreed with Langer's assessment, noting Pant and India had no idea that Smith had done anything.

"We knew only after the game, when the media picked it up," Rathour said.

"As a batsman, Rishabh Pant wasn't even aware. I wouldn't like to comment as it hardly mattered."

India unconcerned over Steve Smith controversy

Rathour was more worried about finding a way to ensure Smith doesn't earn man-of-the-match honours again, having dominated India's attack at the SCG after struggling to score a run in the first half of the four-Test series.

"Our bowlers have been working on specific plans for him and all the other batsmen," he said.

"They have worked so far. He scored some runs but we still back our plans."

Steve Smith leaves the ground after being dismissed my Ravichandran Ashwin during day four of the SCG Test. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Steve Smith leaves the ground after being dismissed my Ravichandran Ashwin during day four of the SCG Test. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Tim Paine argued that the episode could potentially have a positive effect on Smith's performance at the Gabba.

"What he's gone through in the last three years ... he's mentally very strong," Paine said.

"He knows that at times he's going to be criticised, he's handled that pretty well.

"If anything, he feeds off it."

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