Australia journalist Peter Lalor feels that the criticisms against Steve Smith over the Sydney scuffing incident will come back to bite England hard during the 2021/22 Ashes.
Smith copped severe criticism for scuffing the crease on Day 5 of the Sydney Test, most notably from former England players Michael Vaughan, David Lloyd and Darren Gough, with Gough labelling the incident as “plain cheating”.
Lalor reckons that the series of events could well fill Smith with an added motivation ahead of the next Ashes, citing his brilliance from the 2019 series. Smith had aggregated a staggering 774 runs at 110.57 – the best in 30 years, after making a comeback to the Test side after a gap of 16 months due to the ball-tampering episode in Cape Town.
Smith on Scuffgate: “It’s something I do in games to visualise where we are bowling, 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.” pic.twitter.com/Ld3mpETZCu
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 12, 2021
“I just reckon Smith took this really hard,” Peter Lalor told SEN Test Cricket. “I get the feeling that it hurt. Steve Smith uses these things to motivate himself, so stand by.
“Remember the Smith that came back to prove himself in England and started with two 140s and silenced that braying mob and I think the louder they jeered him, the harder he tried.
“I think his resolve will be redoubled between Tests and as we saw he batted brilliantly in Sydney.”
Lalor believed that the criticism stems from the historically intense England-Australia rivalry, where all of it comes out of “instinct”.
@plalor “I think it’s a reflex in #England cricket and I don’t feel any moral high ground over England in saying that because I think Australia has the same relationship with English cricket. It’s a pack instinct, built into the DNA between the two teams.”https://t.co/SkjL5n14F5 pic.twitter.com/CaTquK1Bdf
— Robert Smith (@OnyaDon) January 15, 2021
“People are just waiting to leap on (this Australian team),” Lalor said.
“I think it’s a reflex in England cricket and I don’t feel any moral high ground over England in saying that because I think Australia has the same relationship with English cricket.
“Give us the chance to attack them and we’ll attack them. It just seems to be a pack instinct, built into the DNA between the two teams.”
Meanwhile, Tim Paine has come in full support of his premier Test batsman, who has come under scrutiny again. Steve Smith himself had stated that he had been disappointed over the reactions over the incident.
“I have been quite shocked and disappointed by the reaction to this,” he said.