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A Miracle: Steve Smith Rapped on Knuckles for His Dissenting Reaction by Some Australian Commentators

November 6, 2016

Though Stuart Clark and some Australian commentators implied that Smith was hard done by, Robert Craddock, Ian Chappel and Wayne Smith were among those who upheld Aleem Dar’s decision and reprimanded Steve Smith for the character of his remonstrance. Also note Sangakakra’s decisive opinion on the issue of the Umpire’s cCall for lbw decision and DRS. Michael Roberts

ONE: Robert Craddock, in The Courier Mail, 6 November 2016. where the title is  Steve Smith walking a perilous tight rope as he struggles to find his identity as a captain”

STEVE Smith is a captain is like a young Steve Waugh, a man searching to find himself but not there yet. It’s no crime for a young captain to have a formulative period where he works out who he is and what he stands for. Some leaders like Mark Taylor knew from the moment he was appointed who he was and what he wanted to do (it helps if you have Warne and McGrath). Taylor barely changed in the five years he had the job. Most leaders take more time. Steve Waugh struggled for a while, trying to be all things to all people before deciding “stuff this … I am just going to back my gut feeling and cop the consequences.’’

Steve Smith is facing a fine for his on-field outburst after being given out LBW. Picture: Daniel Wilkins

It is difficult for Smith to take this stance and be the person he wants to be because there are so many conflicting and confusing forces around him. He is walking on a perilous tight rope which has trouble either side of it. On one hand he senses his side is a quiet one and needs to find his voice and aggression. He wants Australia to get its marauding mojo back.  On the other hand he is aware that in the fallout of the Phil Hughes death, sledging is suddenly a dirty word. So he and his team need to be confident but not arrogant, aggressive but not offensive, loud but not obnoxious.

Good luck with that one. Smith not only has to manage his team but his own demeanour which is also in a state of transition. Captains feel every setback more acutely than anyone else which is why his instant reactions such as the tea pot stance can be so revealing. Smith deserves to be charged and fined over his protest over the lbw decision against him in Australia’s first innings.

Holding his arms out in “what the …” gesture was an unfortunate slip. He has to be wary of the unguarded moment when emotions reach his brain a split second before the message that “hang on … I’m captain of this team and I have to set the example.’’

Smith is struggling to find his identity as a captain. Picture: Daniel Wilkins

Smith faces a gruelling life as an Australian captain with a mid-range team which, you sense, will win most times at home and not much abroad. He lives in a world of brutal instant feedback such as when Michael Clarke tweeted that he wanted Nathan Lyon to bowl first-up after lunch on Saturday. It all adds to the pressure.

Mark Taylor once said that the life of a Test captain should be no longer than five years. Australia has pencilled Smith in for a reign which could span up to eight years. It will be a rough ride and he will need to be a strong man to get through it.

Originally published as Skipper Smith at Waugh with himself

  **   ****
 TWO.  Ben Horne,   in The Advertiser, 6 November 2016, where the tile is Australia collapse with the bat as South Africa take control of the second Test”
Smith placed himself at risk of a potential Test match ban after he exploded and Australia lost the plot in a stunning WACA implosion on Friday. South African skipper Faf du Plessis could also find himself in hot water after being spoken to by match officials amid a suggestion the Proteas had been deliberately throwing the ball into the dirt to yield reverse swing.

But in the midst of the catastrophic batting collapse that could see the axe fall on several in the Australian top order, the most dramatic flashpoint came when Smith was controversially given out lbw for a duck by umpire Aleem Dar, despite being 2.8 metres down the wicket to a spinner. Smith’s immediate response was to thrust his arms out in a demonstrative “what the?” gesture directed at the umpire that will now be closely scrutinised by match officials as to whether it constitutes dissent. After he was fined 30 per cent of his match fee for blowing up at an umpire in Christchurch earlier this year, ICC rules state that Smith could face a massive fine or as a worst case scenario a one-match Test suspension if found guilty.

Replays subsequently confirmed the Smith lbw decision to spinner Keshav Maharaj, while hugely contentious, was technically correct, before the Australian captain engaged in an animated war of words with South African players as he stormed off the field.

 At stumps on day two the first Test was firmly in the balance, with South Africa 2-104 in their second gig and 102 runs in charge, although they have lost Dale Steyn for the match and the series.
Steve Smith given out LBW by the narrowest of margins.

Vice-captain David Warner said Australia needed to cop bad umpire’s calls on the chin. “At the end of the day we have to accept the umpire’s decision,” said Warner who claimed the Australian batsmen needed to “look at themselves in the mirror” over poor shot selection. “It’s quite tough to bite your tongue and walk when you feel you’re not out or you’re disappointed with a poor shot but at the end of the day as we all know the umpire as given you out you’re out and you have to go.”

Asked what du Plessis was in strife for, Warner remained tight lipped. “I might know why but I’m not going to give that at the moment,” he said. “I’ve got my thoughts but I’m not going to say anything.”

Pre-match Smith talked about the need for aggressive body language, but as skipper he is walking a fine line and even though it’s unlikely he’d be rubbed out for Hobart, his battling side can ill-afford another disciplinary outburst from him this summer.

ALSO SEE http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sport/cricket/australias-collapse-against-south-africa-the-latest-in-string-of-batting-disasters/news-story/784f7495951303e19d1f65d4ef8ca637?

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