Smith, a former Australia captain, was seen scuffing up the batsman’s guard during drinks break in the first session on Monday. Pant made a whirlwind 97 to give India a shot at winning the match in pursuit of 407, but it ended in a draw.
“I have spoken to Steve about this and I know he is really disappointed with the way it has come across. And if you watch Smith play Test cricket, that is something that he does every single game five or six times a day,” Paine said in a virtual press conference.
“He is always standing in the batting crease, shadow batting, as we know he has got those sort of many Smith quirks, so one of them is he is always marking sand,” he explained.
Paine said that had Smith changed the guard marks, the India would have taken up the issue.
“Smith was certainly not changing guard and imagine if he was, then the India players would have kicked up a bit of stink at that time,” he said.
“But that is something I have seen Steve doing many a times in Test matches and Shield games that I have played with him. When he is in the field, he likes to sort of walk up to where he bats and visualise how is he going to play,” Paine elaborated.
Paine said given how this has been perceived, especially by cricket fans online, there would be reconsideration. “There is no way in the world, he was trying to change Pant’s guard or anything like that. That is just one of Smith’s thing that he does. Now that it has come up like it is, he might need to look at it because of the perception of it,” stressed Paine.
After the video emerged, Smith faced criticism on social media by fans and former India opener Virender Sehwag. “One of his mannerisms, as I said he does a lot, he was marking sand and he wasn’t by any stretch of imagination trying to change guard,” reiterated Paine.
In 2018, Smith was involved in the ball-tampering scandal during the third Test match against South Africa in Cape Town. Subsequently, Smith, along with the then vice-captain David Warner, was banned for 12 months from international and domestic cricket.