Monday, September 27, 2021
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I was sledging, not chatting with Azhar Ali: Steve Smith

Steve-SmithAustralian batsman Steve Smith says his captain Michael Clarke may have misinterpreted his sledging with Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali during the second Test in Abu Dhabi as a friendly chat.

Early in Pakistan’s first innings, Clarke was clearly unimpressed with Smith, who was fielding close to the pitch and engaging in discussions with the opposition’s batsman, reports Sydney Morning Herald.

The Australian captain chided Smith and reportedly told him that Azhar’s friends were upstairs in the Pakistan dressing room and not down on the field.

Azhar was on 14 at the time and went on to score 109 (which he followed up with 100 in the second innings) in Pakistan’s 356-run demolition of Australia. Pakistan earlier won the first Test just as comfortably, by 221 runs.

“Yeah, I’m not sure what happened there. I was actually getting into him. So, it was not what I expected, but that happens I guess,” the 25-year-old Smith said after arriving in Perth Monday to prepare for Australia’s two One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against South Africa at the WACA Ground starting Friday.

“We like to play good, hard, tough, aggressive cricket when we’re out in the field. That’s the way we like to play, so we’ll continue to do that.”

When asked if Clarke misinterpreted the conversation that was taking place, Smith said: “I think that’s how it was.”

Australia are currently ranked number three in the ODI rankings with 114 points, behind South Africa (115) and India (116).

As well as trying to recapture the top ranking, the hosts are also looking for a positive start to their preparation for the World Cup starting Feb 14.

They will play South Africa Friday and Sunday before playing one game each in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.

The first Test against India then starts at the Gabba Dec 4.

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