Smith vows to get Aussie troops in order

By Rob Forsaith,

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13 Have your say

    Steve Smith is adamant he and Faf du Plessis will restore order, rebuild relationships and refocus on cricket before the second Test starts on Friday in Port Elizabeth.

    The Australian and South African captains were read the riot act at a pre-Test meeting with umpires and match referee Jeff Crowe.

    Smith has already put teammates on notice, imploring them to not let “emotions get in the way of what we’re trying to achieve”.

    Smith’s side lead 1-0 in the four-Test series, but the ugly staircase stoush between David Warner and Quinton de Kock has taken the gloss off a 118-run win in Durban.

    Crowe charged Warner and de Kock with bringing the game into disrepute over the scrap, which Australia’s vice-captain said was sparked by something “vile and disgusting” muttered about wife Candice.

    The Proteas claim the opener was also guilty of personal sledging, but that accusation has been sternly rejected by several Australian players.

    The diplomacy skills of Smith, a no-nonsense cricket nuffie more comfortable taking slip catches than squalid chirping, will be tested throughout the fiercely competitive series.

    The skipper is adamant he and du Plessis will successfully “get our troops in order”.

    “Our side certainly has some regrets in the way things were done,” Smith told reporters.

    “I get on well with Faf. I’ve played IPL with Faf for a couple of years and shared plenty of dinners together and a few drinks here and there.

    “It was nice to just have a chat and ensure, I guess, that we’re playing within the spirit of the game … that things don’t get out of hand.

    “Something like this can certainly make some sparks for the rest of the series, but that’s not the way I see it and I don’t want the series to pan out that way.”

    Smith struggled to defuse the powder keg of barbs, blow-ups and bitterness that was Australia’s Test tour of India last year, regularly rowing with Virat Kohli.

    Du Plessis on Thursday flagged the prospect of provoking Warner but, otherwise, struck more of a conciliatory tone than Kohli did in 2017.

    “I’m not expecting Australia to change their style of play. They’re always going to do it,” du Plessis said.

    “I don’t have any issues with it … if you have guys that are pushing that line, as captain, you just need to make sure you keep them calm.”

    Ian Chappell argued Smith should have been punished this week instead of Warner. He noted the captain was responsible for the on-field actions of teammates and should have done more to calm proceedings when the war of words was at an embryonic stage.

    Smith offered a staunch defence of Australia’s approach.

    “This game hasn’t been great for us but, in the last two years, I think we’re the team with the least indiscretions – code of conduct or anything,” he said.

    “We’ve played the game in a pretty good way.

    “We probably went outside those boundaries on a couple of occasions. That’s not what we are about.

    “As captain, you take responsibility of your team. I obviously brought the boys together and told them it wasn’t ideal.”

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • Roar Rookie

      March 9th 2018 @ 9:30am
      El Loco said | March 9th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

      So they go outside the boundaries but they never cross the line. Right, got it.

      • March 9th 2018 @ 4:32pm
        rebel said | March 9th 2018 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

        Maybe the line is like for no balls, all ok as long as you have part of the foot behind it.
        I love how thete is a line when it comes to insults.

    • March 9th 2018 @ 10:20am
      WQ said | March 9th 2018 @ 10:20am | ! Report

      What a load of dribble, Smith has been in this stuff up to his ears and now claims he’ll be able to sort it out!

      • March 9th 2018 @ 12:43pm
        Winston said | March 9th 2018 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

        What else is he supposed to say?

        • March 9th 2018 @ 3:30pm
          WQ said | March 9th 2018 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

          What about what he really thinks something like ‘Geez how fired up was little Davey Warner, did’nt he give it to the them just like I asked him too’

    • March 9th 2018 @ 10:44am
      Geo said | March 9th 2018 @ 10:44am | ! Report

      You don’t cross the line if you never played within the boundaries in the first place.

    • Roar Guru

      March 9th 2018 @ 12:49pm
      Paul Dawson said | March 9th 2018 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

      Not sure why Smith is the one saying he’ll get the boys in line when it’s painfully obvious they’re taking their lead on how to conduct themselves out on the field from Lehmann

    • March 9th 2018 @ 1:56pm
      Linphoma said | March 9th 2018 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

      I can just see them now, all mute but pulling faces at one another on the field. Macho posturing from infantile practitioners.

      • March 10th 2018 @ 8:47am
        aussikiwi said | March 10th 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

        Ha i would like that rule to be introduced. No verbal sledging whatsoever but pulling faces allowed. Some players could be selected for their facial expressions alone.

    • Roar Guru

      March 9th 2018 @ 5:24pm
      Corne Van Vuuren said | March 9th 2018 @ 5:24pm | ! Report

      It was sledging that has wrong. They have been fined, we the public missed out on the juicy part which really is the issue. We can’t judge, we can’t be entertained or disgusted, move along.

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