Tim Paine has hit back at claims Steve Smith was just shadow batting when appearing to remove India’s batsmen’s guards during the final day of a frustrating draw for Australia at the SCG.
Smith was caught on stump camera walking onto the pitch and shadow batting before bizarrely seeming to scuff up the markings on the crease that they use as a guide for where the stumps are behind them.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant were batting at the time, meaning the latter had to take guard once again, with the strange move by Smith serving no other purpose than wasting a few seconds of India’s time.
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It prompted worldwide condemnation, with former England great Darren Gough calling it “plain cheating”, while ex-England captain Michael Vaughan declared it “very, very poor from Steve Smith”.
However, Paine has backed his batsman, claiming that it was just something he does when shadow batting and insisted if you went through all of the footage of his Test matches you’d see that him rubbing out others’ mark was a regular occurrence.
He added that Smith was upset with how his actions have been viewed across the world and that it was not at all his intention.
“I have spoken to Steve about it,’’ Paine told reporters on Tuesday. “He is really disappointed with the way it has come across.
“If you watch Steve Smith play Test cricket that is something he does every single game five or six times a day. He does this a lot.
“He is always in the batting crease batting. As we know he has those many Steve Smith quirks. One of them is that he was always marking centre. He was certainly not changing (Pant’s) guard.
“I imagine if he was the Indian players would have kicked up a bit of a stink at the time. I have seen Steve do it many times in Tests and games I have played against him.
“He likes to visualise how he is going to play. Yesterday you could see him up there playing shots as a left-hander to where he wanted Lyono to pitch the ball.”