Opinion: Steve Smith doesn't deserve a legacy dominated by tampering

Steve Smith doesn't deserve a legacy dominated by tampering

The return of Steve Smith to Australia's Test team has covered up many of the Baggy Green's failings and underlined why he deserves to be allowed to move on from the ball-tampering saga.

When the sandpaper had just been plucked from Cameron Bancroft's jockstrap, many called for Smith to be permanently stood down from involvement in international cricket.

Photo Copyright Steve Haag - Hollywoodbets

This was a knee-jerk reaction to the biggest scandal in Australian cricket for some time and thankfully not a sentiment that was held very long. For some, it only lasted until Smith broke down in an emotional press conference upon returning to Australia.

The gravity of the situation had dawned on him and he realised what he stood to lose.

In the heat of an intense series against the Proteas, the Aussie skipper sanctioned what could be one of the stupidest plots to cheat ever devised in professional sport. We might never know what made David Warner, Bancroft and Smith think they could get away with the tampering plot or whether such tactics were employed before Supersport's camera crew caught them in the act.

As a skipper, Smith made a poor decision in a winner takes all environment but that should not overshadow what a good player he is.

If a Test batting average is the metric by which greatness is determined, Smith would currently be second only to Don Bradman.

You cannot measure entertainment value, but a Steve Smith Test innings is worth price of admission at Lord's, and there aren't a lot of things you could say that about.

Busy at the crease and unorthodox there doesn't seem to be a surface in the world that Smith can't score runs on. Of the countries that Smith has played five or more Tests in, only in South Africa does he average less than fifty.

Smith just about single-handedly ensured that Australia retained the Ashes in 2019 and the only flaw in his game was his ducking. Smith Copped a Jofra Archer to the back of the head by disobeying the cardinal rule of facing short-pitched bowling, turning his head on a bouncer. The blow to the head left him concussed and forced him to miss the third Ashes Test, possibly costing Australia a series victory.

Australia have struggled without Smith, and he is without equal in Test cricket at the moment, having maintained a 50+ average since December 2014, and there isn't a team in the world that wouldn't be improved by his presence.

Labelling Smith a cheat and jeering his every move robs cricket lovers of the pleasure of watching a once-in-a-generation player at the peak of his powers.

Written by James Richardson for Hollywoodbets. 

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