Ashes great: Smith will always be a cheat

 

No matter how imposing the mountain of runs scored by Steve Smith becomes, former England paceman Steve Harmison says the "cheat" will always be remembered for the Cape Town scandal.

Smith has been booed and jeered throughout the World Cup and Ashes. Even at Old Trafford, where Smith backed up an imposing 211 with a quick-fire 82 that represented his lowest score of the series.

Joe Root has opted against following the lead of Virat Kohli, who urged India's fans to stop giving Smith stick during the World Cup.

Harmison, who played 63 Tests - including all five games during the 2005 epic Ashes series - suggested it will be impossible for the run glutton to change anybody's opinion.

"I don't think you can forgive him," Harmison told talkSPORT. "When you're known as a cheat - and he is, I'm not going to sugar-coat it, the three guys cheated - that's on your CV.

"You're marked and you take it to your grave.

"Whatever Steve Smith does, he'll always be remembered for what happened in South Africa."

Harmison added that is "something he's got to live with".

"I can't see anybody's opinion changing on Smith, Bancroft, or Warner. Because of what they've done, they've tarnished the game," he said.

Reaction to Smith's remarkable efforts in England has otherwise been positive from pundits and past players, who have been in awe of the superstar's peerless presence at the crease.

Former Australia captain Steve Waugh, having watched the right-hander closely in recent weeks as the squad's mentor, has been stunned by how Smith has taken his game to another level upon return from a year-long ban.

Steve Smith is making up for lost time.
Steve Smith is making up for lost time.

There has been a quality to the former captain's quantity of runs too; Australia was 4/44 when he made a mockery of England's attack on day four of the fourth Test.

"I've heard a few different things (about records broken this series) but I'm not in the game for personal accolades," Smith said.

"I'm here to do my job and score as many runs for the team as I can.

"I like to get into those situations and try and be the one to take the team through.

"England were really up and about with us four down, but a good half an hour of batting and things got a bit easier."

The 30-year-old wasn't asked about his captaincy aspirations on Saturday but has repeatedly made it clear on tour that it isn't on his radar.

One-day skipper Aaron Finch recently suggested that losing the captaincy was a "weight off" Smith's shoulders.

"He seemed to relax a lot more," Finch told Triple M. "The 12 months (suspension), as unfortunate as it was, it was probably little bit of a relief that he wasn't captaining the side every day.

"He seemed to free up and just be really comfortable with himself.

"It was probably a little different to when he was captain.

"He always felt like everyone was judging him and everything he did ... and he couldn't be too close with some kinds of players."


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