Sunil Gavaskar and VVS Laxman criticised Australian skipper Steve Smith for seeking the dressing room’s input for a DRS referral in the second Test against India, saying it violated the spirit of the game.
In the 21st over of Australian second innings, Smith was trapped LBW by pacer Umesh Yadav and having already blown a DRS call, involving David Warner, the Australians were in a fix to go for another referral.
Smith first turned to the non-striker’s end to seek an opinion but sparks flew when the umpires noticed that the batsman had turned towards the dressing room as well to get a clue. The on-field officials immediately intervened to stop Smith but matters came to a head when Virat Kohli too joined the discussion, leading to an exchange between him and the rival captain.
Asked about the incident which quickly turned into a full blown controversy, Gavaskar said, “A lot of people was talking regarding this at the commentary box that the Australians looked up to the dressing room to get input from their computer guy whether they should go for referral or not.
“It was quite blatant and Peter Handscomb suggested to Smith and then Smith asked the guy at the dressing room. I don’t think that was in the spirit of the game. We have to see what the ICC and Match Referee do,” Gavaskar told NDTV.
Kohli at the post-match press conference said that he has seen the Australians looking upstairs before asking for a DRS.
“You have to take a decision on a DRS within 15 seconds on your own. I have not seen other earlier incidents but I saw it clearly when Smith did that today, he was clearly gesturing to the dressing room,” said Gavaskar further.
“If the Indian captain was saying that he has also seen such a thing (seeking input from dressing room) earlier also, then I think the match referee and the umpires should look into it,” he added.
Former India batsmen VVS Laxman and Aakash Chopra have also come down hard on Smith on the issue.
“Really disappointed with the way @stevesmith49 looked @ the dressing room 2 take a review.Totally against the spirit of the game??” Laxman tweeted.
Chopra wrote: “Looking at the dressing room for a signal to take the review??? Now….that’s CHEATING.”
However, Australian great Adam Gilchirst said calling Smith a cheat for what he did would be a tad harsh.
“I never played in the review era, but I’d suspect that’s against the rules. Not a good thing. Sure he (Smith) will be reprimanded and move on,” tweeted Gilchrist.
Gavaskar was all praise of Kohli’s captaincy in the Australian second innings.
“Virat’s captaincy was brilliant in Australia’s second innings. In the first innings, his captaincy was a lot to be desired like in the bowling changes he made. But in the second innings he was spot on. I will give him 10 out of 10,” he said.
“This time (in Australian second innings) Virat used the opening bowlers in short spells and he kept R Ashwin at one end. His field placing were also spot on,” said the former captain.
Talking about the performance of the Indian players, Gavaskar said, “The Test had all the ingredients to be considered as a very very good one. It was a gripping contest.
The bowlers bowled well, there were runs from the batsmen and fielding was also quite good. Wicketkeeping of Wriddhiman Saha was first class. It was also a very good result for India.
“It was a brilliant fightback by the Indians. India conceded a first innings lead of 87 runs which was very big lead under the circumstances. The 100-plus run partnership between Pujara and Rahane was the crucial one and they gave India the extra runs. Of course, India added not many runs today. I think they were overconfident today and they should not do that again,” he said.
On the performance of R Ashwin who took 6/41 in the second innings, Gavaskar said, “It’s full credit to Ashwin. I thought he was worked up in the first innings and he was seen rushing through overs. However, in the Australian second innings, he took time in between deliveries and he was fantastic.”
Gavaskar said the turning point of the match was the dismissal of Australian captain Steve Smith. He said the middle order of the visiting side was a bit vulnerable with too much dependence of Smith and felt that Mitchell Marsh’s spot in the Australian eleven could be under danger.