Australia v India, the Society of the Spectacle & Steve Smith

In Uncategorized on January 11, 2021 by kmflett

Australia v India, the Society of the Spectacle & Steve Smith

The current Australia v India Test series has provided some great cricket. A final game is due in Brisbane from Friday with the series currently drawn at 1-1

The Third Test in Sydney ended on Monday with a draw after India batted out the final day, falling a bit short of the target of 407 for victory. Draws seem boring to some but this wasn’t reflecting a real tussle between two great teams.

As ever with sporting occasions there has been controversy. A handful of spectators were ejected from the ground after Indian players objected to racist comments. Notably the players did not take the knee at the start of the match, and while there is clearly an official anti-racist policy, there is a lot more work to be done.

These games perhaps more than many also have something of the society of the spectacle about them (on the Australian side). The Australian captain Paine is the wicket keeper and his dialogue with spin bowler Nathan ‘Garry’ Lyon is a feature.

In my view Lyon is no more than an average spin bowler at Test level. He can do well on a favourable pitch. The dialogue between Paine behind the stumps and Lyon when bowling is about trying to pretend that most balls bowled have nearly got the batsman out, thereby putting doubt into their mind which mostly is not provided by Lyon’s bowling.

I find it irritating and on this occasion Paine also had to apologise for swearing at Indian batsman Ashwin, but its gamesmanship. Anyone who has ever watched Stuart Broad claim he has taken a wicket after most balls will get the idea.

What was a bit more than gamesmanship was when Steve Smith was caught on the stump camera scuffing out the batting guard of Indian batsman Pant during a drinks break. He should not have been on the pitch at all and certainly should not have been scuffing it in the crease area.

Perhaps Smith will explain what he thought he was doing.

There is no doubt that he is a great batsman and that like numbers he is obsessed with being so. I’m not keen on obsessives so I don’t find that endearing behaviour hence my fervent wish for Smith to be out as soon as he comes to the crease. Often he isn’t and in this game he scored a 100+ and 80 odd.

This is the Smith who was banned in 2018, when he was Australian captain, for ball tampering in South Africa. In this case the ball was being sandpapered. Gamesmanship perhaps but in the modern day technology, like the crease scuffing, means it will be found out.

If this was a normal employment situation this new incident might mean the end of Smith’s Test career. It was trivial but the underlying point is, can Smith be trusted not to try something again, bringing his side and the game into disrepute?

I doubt it, though his importance to the Australian side may seen him escape with a telling off, if that.

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