India vs Australia: 'We didn't even know about the incident,' India batting coach Vikram Rathour on pitch scuffing row
- India vs Australia: Rathour stated that the Indian side was not even aware of the incident and it didn't affect Pant's batting in any aspect.
India batting coach Vikram Rathour’s latest statement has offered a new twist to the ongoing ‘pitch scuffing’ row. During a pre-match presser on Thursday, Rathour revealed that wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant wasn’t even aware of Steve Smith’s act at the batting crease during the final day of the third Test on Monday.
Smith was seen scuffing the area near the batting crease on day five of the third Test between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground. This led to several questions being raised on social media over the Aussie batsman's gamesmanship.
Rathour stated that the Indian side was not even aware of the incident and it didn't affect Pant's batting in any aspect. The game saw Pant become the youngest wicket-keeper to score fifty-plus runs in the fourth innings of a Test match in Australia.
“Basically, we didn't even know about the incident. We knew only after the game when the media picked it up. As a batsman, Rishabh Pant wasn't even aware. I wouldn't like to comment as it hardly mattered,” Rathour said on the day before the final Test.
Smith was reportedly shocked and disheartened to see the reaction that the scuffing up incident attracted. “I have been quite shocked and disappointed by the reaction to this. It's something I do in games to visualise where we are bowling, how the batter is playing our bowlers and then out of habit I always mark centre,” Smith had told the Daily Telegraph.
On Tuesday, Australia Test captain Tim Paine backed Smith, saying that that the batsman was shadow practicing and he was definitely not aiming to change Pant's guard on the final day of the Test match against India.
“I have spoken to Steve about it. He is really disappointed with the way it has come across. If you watch Steve Smith play Test cricket that is something he does every single game five or six times a day," Paine stated in a virtual press conference.
"He does this a lot. He is always in the batting crease batting. As we know he has those many Steve Smith quirks. One of them is that he was always marking centre. He was certainly not changing Pant's guard."