5 times Steven Smith brought shame to cricket

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Smith was fined 30% of his match fee for showing dissent after the third umpire ruled against Australia at Christchurch in 2016

Following all the drama of ball-tampering, Cricket Australia have finally announced their verdict by punishing the now-sacked captain Steven Smith and vice-captain David Warner, and also penalising newcomer Cameron Bancroft. The latter two cannot represent Australia for the next one year while the former will be out for nine months, though all three have the option of challenging the verdict.

However, in the case of Smith and Warner, this was not the first case when misconduct or unsporting behaviour on the ground attracted the attention of the authorities. While Warner's stories go back a long way, Sportskeeda traces 5 instances when Smith's actions or words brought shame to the game of cricket.

#5 Outburst on umpiring decision, Christchurch 2016

On Day four of the Christchurch Test between New Zealand and Australia in 2016, Smith and pacer Josh Hazlewood got into a controversy when an umpiring decision went against Australia. In the last over before lunch, Kane Williamson was ruled not out by on-field umpire Ranmore Martinesz following a huge LBW appeal by Hazlewood.

Smith immediately referred it to the third umpire Richard Illingworth, who found a small Hot Spot mark beside the bottom of Williamson's inside edge, thus sticking with Martinesz's decision. The visitors, however, seemed convinced that the spot arose with Williamson's bat trudging his boot. That made Smith have a word with Martinesz while Hazlewood was heard on the stump microphone saying, “Who the f*** is the third umpire?”

As a result, Smith was fined 30% of his match fee while Hazlewood was docked half the amount, after which Smith later said, "I'll cop that on the chin and I need to be better as a leader."

#4 DRS “brain fade”, Bangalore 2017

Smith tried to consult the Australian dressing room for a review after being given out by the umpire at Bangalore in 2017

Australia had registered a surprising win on a raging turner in the previous Test in Pune to go 1-0 up in the three-match series, and Bangalore presented them with another spin-friendly surface, albeit not as threatening. India had set the visitors 188 on the fourth day, having fallen behind by 87 in the first innings.

But when Australia came out to chase, it was India's pacers who struck early blows to reduce them to 67/3, with Umesh Yadav claiming two wickets and Ishant Sharma claiming one. With Umesh in action again, Smith was struck flush in the middle by the ball keeping low. Umpire Nigel Llong gave India the wicket, and with the DRS facility available, Smith consulted the non-striker Peter Handscomb before turning to the Australian dressing room to consult whether the decision needed to be reviewed or not.

With Virat Kohli questioning his methods and even claiming that Australia had done that several times in the Test, Smith later described his actions as a “brain fade”, a term very commonly used in cricketing circles since.

#3 James Anderson sledging comments, Adelaide 2017

During the Adelaide Test in 2017, umpire Aleem Dar often had to intervene between Smith and James Anderson

After England had lost the first Test of the 2017-18 Ashes in Australia, James Anderson wrote in a piece for The Telegraph in the UK a day before the second Test at Adelaide, “A bully waits until they are in the ascendancy to pounce on people. That is what Australian teams do.”

The same day, host captain Smith hit back at his rival when he was asked to respond to Anderson's comments. "I think it's interesting coming from Jimmy, calling us bullies and big sledgers. I think he's one of the biggest sledgers in the game, to me in particular. I remember back in 2010, when I first started and wasn't any good, he was pretty happy to get stuck into me then."

Things seemed heated up even during the match at Adelaide, with umpire Aleem Dar often having to intervene when Smith was standing at the non-striker's end at the same time that Anderson was fielding at short mid-wicket.

#2 Kagiso Rabada shoulder barge comments, Port Elizabeth 2018

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Smith claimed that he remained unheard after being barged by Kagiso Rabada in the Port Elizabeth Test in 2018

Controversy had already taken the upper hand in a fiery battle between South Africa and Australia in the first Test. The next match at Port Elizabeth saw Smith and Kagiso Rabada face-off against one another. Rabada, with already five demerit points to his name, was one misdemeanour away from suspension, which inevitably arrived when he was found brushing Smith's shoulders and even giving him a send-off after getting him out. Further trouble arrived when he screamed in Warner's face on dismissing him in the second innings.

As a result, he was suspended for two Tests, but much to the disappointment of the opposition, had it overturned following a six-hour hearing. The decision pinched Smith, who believed that as the one who was barged, his voice remained unheard. “I certainly think he bumped me a little bit harder than it actually looked on the footage. The other person involved not getting asked about it is pretty interesting, I thought,” Smith said.

But more trouble was to follow, at least for Smith...

#1 Ball tampering, Cape Town 2018

Smith and David Warner had devised plans to tamper with the ball, which Cameron Bancroft ended up doing against South Africa

The biggest scandal broke out in the third Test of the South Africa tour when Cameron Bancroft, on instructions from his captain Smith and vice-captain David Warner, was caught rubbing one side of the ball with a sandpaper on the third day of the match. Later in the day, Smith and Bancroft confessed in the press conference that it was a pre-meditated plan to alter the condition of the ball in order to obtain early reverse-swing, with Smith stating that only the “leadership group” was involved.

Massive consequences followed when the ICC first suspended him for a Test and fined him his entire match fee, letting off Bancroft with three demerit points and a 75% fine.

Cricket Australia duly stepped up to punish the players, banning Smith and Warner from all cricket for a year while Bancroft was suspended for nine months. This led to the termination of Smith and Warner's IPL contracts, with both having resigned as captains of their respective franchises.

Edited by Rajdeep Puri

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