Having received a dissent charge during New South Wales’ Sheffield Shield game against Western Australia earlier in the week, Steve Smith apologized to his Australian teammates.
Following the sandpaper gate in Newlands last year, Australian cricket underwent a massive reform with regards to their behavior on-field. In the year following that, they earned only one demerit point – which was handed to Adam Zampa during the World Cup for an audible obscenity. However, the instances have increased in the new season, and last week even high-profile cricketers such as Smith and James Pattinson were pulled up, with the latter being handed a one-match suspension.
“I came in and apologized to the group yesterday for getting a code of conduct,” Smith said in Brisbane, at the national team’s ‘values’ meeting which is held at the start of every major assignment. “I don’t think there was a great deal in it but I’ve copped it and I have to look at when I get out and the way I sort of conduct myself. I know lots of kids watch me play and watch all of us play and the way we conduct ourselves when we get out as well as when we’re batting.
“So we have to be very mindful of that and sometimes just bite the bullet and just conduct ourselves in, I guess, a better manner at times. Sometimes your emotions can get the better of you out on the field. We’re playing a game [where] everyone is trying to do their best and sometimes that happens.”
Smith was slapped with a 25 percent match fee as fine for his dissent against the umpire’s decision.
“When you get behind closed doors, go for your life, do what you need to do to let your frustrations out,” he said. “Within reason – you probably don’t want to punch anything. Mitch Marsh can probably attest to that. We’re Australian players regardless of where we’re playing and what we’re doing. We sign up to values and in our contracts, we’ve got a code of conduct there we have to play by. I got pinged and so be it. I felt I should apologize for that.”
Even as the incident took place in a domestic game, Tim Paine, Australia’s Test skipper, believes that there needs to be consistency in the behavior of the players across levels.
“I think it’s more just a reminder that we’ve got to set those standards all the time,” Paine said. “Whether we’re playing for Australia or we’re playing club cricket or we’re playing for our states or we’re not playing cricket, there are standards we set ourselves to live by day in and day out so it’s important we do that whether we’re on the field off the field, regardless of who we’re playing for.
“We’ve had a couple of instances this week but we always revisit them. We did again last night, just to brush up on what’s expected and what we expect of the group. Both of those guys apologized, they know that they fell a little bit short of what we set ourselves in the Test team. And the fact that we must maintain that when we go back to state cricket and lead the way there.
They’re disappointed with that but we are going to keep on top of it and maintain the level that we’ve set so far in the last couple of years.”
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