CHENNAI: After being on the back foot for most of the second Test, India rallied from behind to level the four-match series 1-1. But more than the match, talks have centred around on the DRS issue that has threatened to overshadow the contest.
Adding fuel to the fire, both boards have also joined the fray. Firmly backing Steve Smith, Cricket Australia said questioning his integrity is “outrageous” and there was no “ill-intent” in the captain’s move to seek dressing room help. The BCCI responded strongly by coming out in support of India captain Virat Kohli and requested the ICC to take note of Smith’s ‘brain fade’.
Australia skipper Smith had gestured towards the dressing room to seek a clue on whether to go for a referral or not after he was trapped LBW by pacer Umesh Yadav.
He later tried to douse the fire by saying it was a ‘brain fade’ on his part and he shouldn’t have done it. In no mood to relent, Virat Kohli stopped just short of calling Smith a cheat.
In a statement, Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said, “I find allegations questioning the integrity of Steve Smith, the Australian team and the dressing room, outrageous. Steve is an outstanding cricketer and person, and role model to many aspiring cricketers and we have every faith that there was no ill-intent in his actions.”
The BCCI responded by saying, “The Board of Control for Cricket in India after due deliberation and seeing the video replays of the episode steadfastly stands with the Indian cricket team and its captain Virat Kohli. He is a mature and seasoned cricketer and his conduct on the field has been exemplary.
His action was supported by ICC Elite Panel umpire Nigel Llong who rushed in to dissuade Steve Smith from taking recourse to inappropriate assistance.”
Later on Wednesday, the ICC confirmed that no charges have been laid against any player under the ICC Code of Conduct. ICC chief executive David Richardson said, “We have just witnessed a magnificent game of Test cricket where players from both teams gave their all and emotions were running high during and after the match.
We would encourage both teams to focus their energies on the third Test in Ranchi next week. Ahead of that, the match referee will bring both captains together to remind them of their responsibilities to the game.”