Vision of Smith’s ‘unbecoming’ behaviour
They've been touted as potential candidates to replace Tim Paine as Australian Test captain, but Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne aren't doing themselves any favours.
While their talent with the willow cannot be disputed, their behaviour in the Sheffield Shield this week raised some eyebrows.
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During the second innings of Victoria's match against New South Wales at the SCG, Smith was controversially given out caught behind off Will Sutherland's bowling.
The 31-year-old slowly made his way back to the pavilion, repeatedly shaking his head and scraping his thigh pad, indicating he did not edge the delivery.
Meanwhile in Hobart, Labuschagne was removed by Tasmanian all-rounder Beau Webster in similar fashion during Queensland's second innings.
The 26-year-old threw his head back in disbelief after the umpire raised his finger, shaking his head all the way to the sheds.
For Smith and Labuschagne, accumulating high scores in the game's longest format is a birthright, and being denied triple figures by an umpiring error is understandably frustrating.
But showing dissent to an umpire's decision is against the Laws of Cricket - Smith should know, he's been pinged for the misdemeanour at both international and domestic level.
"It was one of the triggers identified prior to South Africa in the deterioration in Australian cricket.
"I wonder if it passes unremarked or whether it actually draws the reaction and the consequence that it should.
"The vision of both of them is actually unbecoming."
NewsCorp cricket writer Robert Craddock believed the pair's behaviour could damage their chances of replacing Paine.
As proven by the infamous "scrapegate" scandal during January's SCG Test, cricket fans will gleefully jump on the opportunity to castigate Smith as soon as he steps out of line.
"As we continue this debate as to who Australia's next cricket captain would be, that certainly doesn't advance you in the cause," Craddock said.
"What we know with Steve Smith post-Sandpapergate is that any sign of poor behaviour just gets jumped on and magnified fourfold because of his history.
"You would never want to stop animation to the nth degree, but it didn't look great.
"I saw the vision of both of those - and they were probably not out - but it doesn't matter, you do get stinkers.
"There were some people, myself included, who think that down the track Labuschagne will have the portfolio to be a Test captain.
"Stuff like that … you have to improve."
Smith's lukewarm response to queries about Pat Cummins' captaincy credentials last week suggested he is eyeing another stint as Australian skipper.
Originally published as Vision of Smith's 'unbecoming' behaviour