Former Australia captain Steve Smith is on a roll in the current Ashes series in England. The middle-order batsman has raised his bat each time he took to the crease in the five-match series and his lowest score so far has been 82. He has already slammed three hundreds with the highest score being 211 made in the first innings of the fourth Test at Old Trafford. Smith missed the sensational third Test at Leeds after getting hit by a bouncer from Jofra Archer in the second match at Lord’s. But the blow has little deterred him from continuing with his magical touch.
However, despite Smith’s heroics, there are still voices in the opponent camp that refuse to forget his tainted past. The 30-year-old lost his place in international cricket for a year following the Sandpapergate scandal in South Africa last year and made a comeback only this March.
Along with Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft also faced the law. The episode still remains a fresh one in the memory as Smith faces taunting from the crowd time and again. During the ICC World Cup held prior to the Ashes too, the crowd in England kept on booing Smith. In Australia’s game against India, even India captain Virat Kohli was seen gesturing his disappointment with the spectators for booing Smith.
Now, former England paceman Steve Harmison has chipped in with his strong opinion on Smith. He said that despite his rich exploits in Ashes 2019, Smith will be remembered as a cheat. Smith stood as a barrier in England’s way to take a 2-1 lead in the series at Old Trafford with his 211 and 82 in the two innings.
Australia took a huge lead of 196 in the first innings and then declared on 186 for 6 in their second essay to set a target of 383 for England in the fourth innings.
Smith has slammed three tons, two fifties in Ashes 2019
Smith, with his twin hundreds in the first Test at Edgbaston and a 92 at Lord’s followed by the latest two heroics, has now 671 runs in five innings with an impressive average of 134 plus. He has now scored six hundreds in last eight Tests against England as well.
But Harmison, 40, refuses to pardon Smith for his past act. “I don’t think you can forgive him,” Harmison said while speaking on talkSport, a London-based sports radio station. “I said this many, many times during the 12 months that Smith, Warner and Bancroft came out (of the side)… When you are known as a cheat, and he is, I’m not going to sugar coat it. He cheated, the three guys cheated, that’s on your CV. You take it to your grave.”
While many have started drawing a comparison between Smith and the great Sir Donald Bradman, Harmison said the two shouldn’t be compared and added that irrespective of his feats, the Australian batsman will be remembered as one who had tarnished the game.
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