6 instances when Steven Smith's leadership came under scrutiny
If there is one name that is making the headlines in the world of cricket at present, it is that of Steve Smith. This time though, it is for all the wrong reasons. Not very long ago, Smith was considered the next Sir Don Bradman for all the jaw-dropping numbers he had racked up in Test cricket. His stocks were rising as opponents found it hard to get the better of him.
But all that changed over the course of one day in South Africa. In the third Test at Newlands, he inexplicably approved a ball-tampering plan masterminded by vice-captain David Warner.
After getting caught in the act, Smith was branded a villain and a cheat and suddenly finds himself back home, banned for a year by Cricket Australia. However, this isn't the first time Smith’s leadership credentials have come under scrutiny. There were 6 other controversies involving the right-handed batsman when he was in charge of Australia. Take a look:
#1 – Lord’s vs England, 2015
This incident happened around the time Smith began captaining Australia on a full-time basis, following Michael Clarke's retirement after the Ashes series in England. It was the second ODI against England at Lord’s.
England were setting themselves up well to chase 310, when all-rounder Ben Stokes was dismissed off Mitchell Starc’s bowling for obstructing the field. It proved to be a hugely controversial decision, a moment that was crucial in helping the Aussies go 2-0 up in the series.
Smith and his English counterpart Eoin Morgan were at loggerheads over the decision. While Morgan blamed Smith indirectly for not being sporting enough to withdraw the appeal, the Australian captain supported his wicket-keeper Matthew Wade’s judgement.
Interestingly, even New Zealand’s then-skipper Brendon McCullum weighed in on the issue by backing Morgan’s claims and believing Smith would go on to regret this decision of not playing in accordance with the spirit of the game. The incident took a few days to die down.