SMITH UN­DER FIRE

Calls for Aus­tralia skip­per to be in­ves­ti­gated for al­leged DRS abuse

New Straits Times - - Sport -

FOR­MER In­dia cap­tains have called on cricket au­thor­i­ties to in­ves­ti­gate Aus­tralia skip­per Steve Smith amid al­le­ga­tions his team flouted the rules of the game when de­cid­ing whether to re­view de­ci­sions dur­ing the sec­ond Test.

In­censed In­dia cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli ac­cused Smith of ‘cross­ing the line’ on day four of the Ban­ga­lore match on Tues­day when he was given out lbw and looked to­ward the play­ers’ area in the stands when de­cid­ing whether to re­view the ver­dict us­ing the De­ci­sion Re­view Sys­tem.

Play­ers are not al­lowed to seek di­rec­tion apart from con­fer­ring with the non-striker.

Smith said it had been a one-off in­ci­dent caused by a “brain fade” but Kohli coun­tered that it was not the only time it had hap­pened and that he had com­plained to the match of­fi­cials.

For­mer In­dia cap­tain and broad­caster Su­nil Gavaskar called on the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil to in­ves­ti­gate.

“I don’t think that was in the spirit of the game. We have to see what the ICC and match ref­eree do,” Gavaskar told lo­cal broad­caster NDTV.

“I have not seen other ear­lier in­ci­dents but I saw it clearly when Smith did that to­day, he was clearly ges­tur­ing to the dress­ing room.”

Sourav Gan­guly, who cap­tained In­dia from 2000-05, also de­manded au­thor­i­ties “take ac­tion.”

“The um­pires and match ref­eree must en­sure this doesn’t hap­pen in fu­ture,” he told In­dian broad­caster Aaj Tak.

Peter Hand­scomb, who was at the non-striker’s end dur­ing the in­ci­dent, tweeted af­ter the 75run de­feat that he was to blame.

“I re­ferred smudga (Smith) to look at the box... my fault and was un­aware of the rule. Shouldn’t take any­thing away from what was an amaz­ing game!” he wrote.

Michael Clarke, Smith’s pre­de­ces­sor as cap­tain, said he had con­cerns about the ac­tions of his for­mer team­mate.

“I want to find out from the Aus­tralian team if they’re us­ing the DRS in that way, if they are then that is un­ac­cept­able,” Clarke told TV sta­tion In­dia To­day.

“The fact that Peter Hand­scomb is even think­ing about telling the Aus­tralian cap­tain to turn around and look to the sup­port staff, I’ve got my con­cerns.”

The DRS storm capped a tense and some­times ill-tem­pered match, with a num­ber of heated ver­bal ex­changes prompt­ing in­ter­ven­tions from the um­pires to calm play­ers down.

Kohli’s ac­cu­sa­tions and any ac­tion taken by the ICC are bound to re­ver­ber­ate in com­ing days, with the four-match se­ries locked at 1-1 be­fore the third Test in Ranchi next week.

Aus­tralian me­dia likened the con­tro­versy to the in­fa­mous Syd­ney Cricket Ground Test in 2008, which soured re­la­tions be­tween the teams for a num­ber of years.

The Anil Kum­ble-cap­tained In­di­ans threat­ened to aban­don the se­ries af­ter bowler Harb­ha­jan Singh was found guilty of racially abus­ing Aus­tralia’s An­drew Symonds, a con­vic­tion that was later over­turned.

Af­ter Aus­tralia won the tense match on day five, Kum­ble said: “Only one team is play­ing in the spirit of the game.”

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