Sure, Steve Smith’s attempted use of the dressing room to determine if there was a case to review can be described as taking an unfair advantage. It can even be classified as cheating for being against the spirit and letter of cricketing laws. However it does not feel right for India to twist the knife into Smith on this issue.
Virat Kohli’s post- match presser showed a lack of maturity one expects from an International captain.
Team India need to realize that in Smith they have got one of the good guys. He is not the beer guzzling brash cricketer of the past. Smith has proven himself to be a mature and compassionate man. No greater example of this can be given other than his understanding of Matt Renshaw’s ablution urgency during the Pune test. Former Australian captains certainly wouldn’t have been as understanding and they admit it themselves with Border saying he hoped Renshaw was “lying half dead on the medical table” to warrant his excuse.
Another example of Steve Smith’s exemplary character happened during the South Africa series. It’s the home summer and Australia are down 1-0 in the series. Television cameras pick up the South African captain Faf DuPlessis shining the ball artificially with mints and he is about to be charged by the ICC. Can there be a better opportunity to discredit the opposition captain? No, but Smith does not take shots at South Africa or Faf du Plessis. Instead he said he had no problem with it and that Australia shined the ball in a similar way themselves. This was completely unnecessary and very courageous of him to do so. It would have been so easy to attribute their loss to an unfair advantage gained by the South African bowlers.
What it showed was a cricketer with brotherhood to a fellow cricketer. It showed a mature captain willing to do what he felt was the right thing. One could not have expected such a response if it was Border or Kohli in his place.
Kohli needs to understand that Smith’s actions which were instigated by Pete Handscomb were due to the shock of his dismissal rather than an attempt to cheat. Kohli having suffered a similar dismissal in the match can surely recognize the emotions on receiving a grubber of a ball. Smith was a man so invested in helping his team win that he could not believe that he missed the ball.
A mature captain would bring it to the match officials notice and leave it at that. Kohli needs to understand that his every move is followed by millions. The booing of Steve Smith during the post-match presentation leaves a bad taste. Here’s a man who genuinely likes to travel and play in India. Kohli needs to recognize Smith’s predicament at that moment of disbelief. He needs to show brotherhood to a fellow batsman and captain. If you cannot be friendly with Smith, you will not be friendly with anyone.