Kolkata: Well, Australian skipper Steven Smith may attribute his seeking an approval from the dressing room for taking the Decision Review System (DRS) in the Bengaluru Test to a “brain fade,” but he has crossed the line and should be punished. The International Cricket Council (ICC) rules do not allow such an act, yet Smith seems to put the blame on his immaturity for a fault that is not accepted from an international captain. But the Aussies being Aussies, Smith has support from former Australian captain, Steve Waugh who thinks Smith’s words should be taken on face value.
“It was a fantastic Test match. It’s a shame we are focusing on one incident. I would go with what Steve has said. I would take him on face value. The best part was umpires stepped in and stopped at then and there. Looking back Smith will be embarrassed and must have learnt a lesson,” Waugh was quoted by PTI today.
Having said that, Waugh wants the ICC to take a call on the matter. “Someone from ICC needs to look into the matter and bring it to a finality. Look we need to move on. Probably he would be cautioned. It was a high intensity game,” he said. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has urged the ICC to intervene in the matter, reports the News Agency.
Meanwhile Cricket Australia (CA) has refused to find fault in Smith. According to PTI, in a statement issued today, CA’s CEO James Sutherland said, “I find the allegations questioning the integrity of Steve Smith, the Australian Team and the dressing room, outrageous. Steve is an outstanding cricketer and person, and role model to many aspiring cricketers and we have every faith that there was no ill-intent in his actions. We reject any commentary that suggests our integrity was brought into disrepute or that systemic unfair tactics are used, and stand by Steve and the Australian Cricketers who are proudly representing our country.”
Well, defending Smith was natural for CA and former cricketers like Waugh, but doesn’t this tantamount to showing bias? Now, should the ICC intervene? It should. Should strong actions be taken against Smith? Yes, it is high time to set a trend. Waugh should jolly well remember that when it comes to honesty, Aussie cricketers have many a time, taken the opposite route. There are plenty of examples when Australian cricketers on the hunt for a win, have resorted to means that do not conform to principles.
Yet, like a true patriot, Waugh has sided with the current Australian captain and so has CA. Even though Waugh wants the ICC to step in, his statement implying forgiving Smith doesn’t augur well for the game. Henceforth, don’t be surprised if there are many more Smith-like-acts on the cricket field. Forget Smith’s stature, he should be taken to task for his action and the ICC has to be firm on it.
Sorry, Mr. Waugh, don’t pamper Smith. Warn him!