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“People will always remember Smith’s involvement in the ball-tampering episode during the Test against South Africa. He will always be known as a cheat. When his name will be placed alongside great cricketers then there will be a question that is he really a great or just a good cricketer who is also a cheat,” Monty Panesar told Timesofindia.com.
“There is a difference between a good player and a great player. It’s all about how you conduct yourself on and off the field. Because of the sandpaper incident, Smith will always be below the ‘great’ status. Look at Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, MS Dhoni or Kapil Dev. It doesn’t matter how many runs Smith will score, he will never be in the league of greats,” said the former England spinner.
“Smith has similar stature as Ricky Ponting. Does he deserve that? I would say no. Because Ponting captained the team, scored many match-winning knocks and guided Australia to World Cup (title), but he do (sic) the Sandpaper incident. If we will compare Smith with him, we would be tarnishing Ponting’s image,” Panesar added.
Smith has managed to erase any doubts about whether he would be the same batsman following the traumatic events of the Cape Town Test that led to him being stripped of the Australia captaincy and a one-year ban.
Smith, who leapfrogged Virat Kohli to become the number one-ranked Test batsman in the world, has been on a run-spree in the ongoing Ashes.
The right-hander scored 211 and 82 in the game to take his tally for the series to an astonishing 671 runs at an average innings of 134.2, including three hundreds, despite missing England’s one-wicket win in the third Test at Headingley with concussion.