Australian cricket coach Justin Langer has launched a stinging defence of Steve Smith, slamming comments in recent days from English greats Darren Gough and Michael Vaughan.
Smith was captured on a stump camera appearing to scruff away Rishabh Pant’s batting guard during the fourth Test, with Gough labelling the incident as “plain cheating” in the aftermath.
Vaughan later tweeted the action was a “very very poor” look for the former Australian captain.
Langer came out swinging in his defence of Smith, admitting that he personally rang both Gough and Vaughan yesterday to confront them about his remarks.
The Australian head coach said the reaction from across the globe at Smith’s actions was “absolutely ludicrous”.
“I’ve actually spoken to Darren Gough about it and rang him last night,” he said on SEN Mornings.
“I spoke to Michael Vaughan as well, I thought he was out of line actually. You get it from (some of the critics), but I don’t expect it from (someone like Vaughan). I know he makes a living out of making those sorts of comments, but I thought he was out of line.
“Everything said about Steve Smith is absolutely ludicrous, we have a laugh that he’s a bit quirky and different and he certainly consciously wasn’t trying to do anything wrong and was just standing there thinking about batting.
“He’s 100 per cent innocent in this, he didn’t do anything on the pitch. The wicket at the SCG was like concrete, he would’ve needed 15-inch spikes to do what people were accusing him of doing and messing up (Risabh) Pant’s guard.
"Give me a break, I've never heard such rubbish in my life."
Will Pucovski’s maiden Test started with an impressive 62 runs, but ended as he was forced to leave the field after injuring his shoulder diving for a ball in the field.
After Cricket Australia confirmed on Tuesday that he had suffered a shoulder subluxation, Langer said he wasn’t sure whether the young gun would be fit enough to play in Brisbane.
“Fingers crossed he’ll be right," he said.
“We’ll see him this morning and have training this afternoon, he had a great debut and played brilliantly in the first innings.
“From what I’m hearing from the medicos, it’ll be a short turnaround whether he’ll be right to go or he’ll be a few weeks away. Time will tell."
In better injury news for Australia, Langer confirmed opener David Warner was fit and ready to go for the much-anticipated final Test of the series despite looking hampered while running between wickets during the Sydney Test.
“David Warner is a 100 per cent certainty like he was for the last test,” he said.
‘There was a lot of talk about him, I’ll make it clear that he’s a seasoned pro. It was 100 per cent up to him whether he was right to go and we made the decision together.
“He’s right to go and he’s 100 per cent right to go (for Brisbane).”