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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Steve Smith should not be associated with any cricketing great, says former England bowler

Monty Panesar echoed his teammate Steve Harmison’s sentiments and said that Australia batsman Steve Smith should not be compared with any cricketing great after his involvement in the sandpapergate.

cricket Updated: Sep 11, 2019 19:10 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Australia's Steve Smith poses for a photograph with a fan during nets.
Australia's Steve Smith poses for a photograph with a fan during nets.(Action Images via Reuters)
         

Former England spinner Monty Panesar echoed his teammate Steve Harmison’s sentiments and said that Australia batsman Steve Smith should not be compared with any cricketing great after his involvement in the sandpapergate. Harmison believes that irrespective of what Smith achieved on the field, the cricketing world would always remember him as a cheat.

“I don’t think you can forgive him. When you’re known as a cheat – and he is, I’m not going to sugar-coat it – that’s on your CV. You’re marked and you take it to the grave,” Harmison told talkSPORT. “Whatever Steve Smith does, he’ll always be remembered for what happened in South Africa,” he further added.

READ: How did India select its No.4? Former batting coach reveals criteria

Panesar supported that argument and said that Smith will never be in the league of greats.

“This will always be at the back of the mind of every cricket fan. Smith has similar stature as Ricky Ponting. Does he deserve that? I would say no. Because Ponting captained the team, scored many match-winning knocks and guided Australia to World Cup (title), but he didn’t do the Sandpaper incident. If we will compare Smith with him, we would be tarnishing Ponting’s image. I don’t think his (Smith) name should be associated with any cricketing great,” Panesar told Times of India in an interview.

“There is a difference between a good player and a great player. It’s all about how you conduct yourself on and off the field. Because of the sandpaper incident, Smith will always be below the ‘great’ status. Look at Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, MS Dhoni or Kapil Dev. When we talk about these cricketers we add legend or great before their names. Be it on or off the field, these guys have conducted themselves so well. When you meet them, you feel so good. They are great human beings. It doesn’t matter how many runs Smith will score, he will never be in the league of greats,” he added.

Steve Smith is the leading run-scorer in the ongoing Ashes series, with 671 runs in three Tests, and could have scored more, if he had not been ruled out of the 4th Test due to concussion. However, Panesar was not convinced by his batting prowess and said that Smith will always be known as a ‘cheat’.

READ: Steve Smith could smash Don Bradman’s 89-yr-old Test record

“(Steve) Smith was probably honest with himself. He is back and doing what he always loves to do. He is batting well and scoring runs. He is a traditional Australian cricketer with the baggy green. He is exactly what an Australian cricketer looks like. We all have heard of great (Diego) Maradona and his hand goal (hand of God) in the World Cup. People remember him because of that goal. Similarly, people will always remember Smith’s involvement in the ball-tampering episode during the Test against South Africa. He will always be known as a cheat, despite scoring huge number of runs,”

“There is no doubt though, that he is a great talent. He has been phenomenal for Australian cricket. After some years, I am not sure how people will treat him. When his name will be placed alongside great cricketers then there will be a question that is he really a great or just a good cricketer who is also a cheat,” he said in the interview.

First Published: Sep 11, 2019 19:09 IST