Allan Border lashes out at Steve Smith over thumbs up gesture
Australian great Allan Border was critical of Steve Smith's 'thumbs up' gesture as a mark of appreciation towards Indian spinners during the Nagpur Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Already at pains for Australia's loss by an innings and 132 runs in a Test they capitulated for scores of just 177 and 91 against the Indian tweakers, Border pointed out Smith's "ridiculous" instinct to nod in approval of a good ball from the opposition and almost indirectly cheer them up for the task.
Prepared to play left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja for the ball coming in with the arm, and setting himself up accordingly, Smith on multiple occasions showed a thumbs up to the bowler whenever he was beaten on the outside edge with a sharp turning ball.
Watching it from the outside, Border, the former Australia captain, whose name forms part of the coveted trophy alongside the legendary Indian batter Sunil Gavaskar, wasn't pleased by Smith's act and demeanour, letting the bowler know he has just gotten the better of his defence.
Border not pleased with Smith's 'thumbs up' act
"Play with a harder edge," Border told Fox Sports, urging fellow countrymen to play with the innate Aussie competitiveness and not be this nice to an opposition. "I mean, we’re giving blokes the thumbs up when they’re beating us outside the off stump. What the hell is going on?"
"That is just ridiculous. Don’t go stupid, but Australia play hard nose cricket. We’re even giving someone thumbs up … bloody hell."
With still three Tests remaining, there is some anticipation of an Australian fightback in the mould of India's own epic comeback following the ignominious '36 all out' in the first Test of the 2020-21 series, which they eventually won 2-1.
But Border said given the "scars" that the tourists will be carrying after being handsomely outperformed by the hosts over two and a half days in Nagpur, their chances look bleak in what is shaping up to be a very long tour for them.
"There are so many scars there now, it’s going to be a tough few days. You can talk the talk, but ultimately the boys with the bat in hand and ball in hand have got to do the job."
"It’s going to be hard to find a way, but they’ve just got to do it. A big, soul-searching dressing room drink-a-thon tonight, just to try to thrash something out. That’s as bad as we can play, there’s only one way to go from here," Border added.
The next Test scheduled in Delhi starts on February 17.