Former England captain Sir Alastair Cook has opined that Australia batsman Steve Smith is likely to face more scrutiny than others given his history while admitting the 'scuffgate' controversy was taken out of context. Smith drew a lot of flak after the stump camera caught him scuffing out Rishabh Pant’s batting guard marks on Day 5 of the Sydney Test.
In 2018, then-Australian skipper Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were banned from playing professional cricket for 12 months for their involvement in a ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town. Alastair Cook was alluding to that very incident but chose not to pass judgement on the intent behind Smith's act in Sydney.
“I think, given what’s happened [with Steve Smith], obviously everything is going to be talked about. I think like anything in a series when you try to put the opposition off, it’s been taken a little bit out of context, I’d imagine," Alastair Cook said in an interview with RadioTimes.com on Thursday.
"Whether it is intentional or not, only he will know but, yeah, it only makes you more intrigued,” added Alastair Cook.
India almost showed the way to play against this Australian side: Sir Alastair Cook
After the 2019 Ashes series ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw in England, Joe Root’s boys are scheduled to play the next edition Down Under starting November this year. Alastair Cook acknowledged that England have a tough task at hand while urging them to follow India’s already successful blueprint.
“England have some serious strength in depth to be able to go there and play well. You see India have done a job on them in this series and almost showed the way to play against this Australia side," said Alastair Cook.
“It’s not easy, but it’s proper grind cricket. India gave nothing away and eventually wore Australia down and full credit to them,” Alastair Cook concluded.
After collapsing for 36 all out in Adelaide, an injury-ravaged and inexperienced Indian side turned things around in the series. They recreated history by defeating Australia at the Gabba after 32 years, winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1.