'In India, whenever he got a good ball...': Border bludgeons Steve Smith's 'over the top' behaviour ahead of WTC final
Ahead of the WTC final when Steve Smith needs some confidence, he has received a completely opposite reaction from the legend Allan Border himself.
India and Australia will renew their rivalry once again with plenty at stake when the two teams play the final of the World Test Championship starting June 7 at the iconic Kia Oval in London. After the highly-engaging Border-Gavaskar Trophy in February ended 2-1 in India's favour and guaranteed Rohit Sharma and Co.'s place in the final was a riveting contest, but when the venue is England with an ICC trophy on the line, it makes for an even more engaging contest. The last time India and Australia played each other in an ICC final was way back in the 2003 World Cup final. 20 years later, the stage is once again set with the winner taking away the ultimate prize in Test cricket.
While Rohit and Pat Cummins will obviously be the two men with most eyeballs on them, there is no escaping the battle among battles – Virat Kohli vs Steve Smith. The two former captains of their respective national teams have been part of some of India-Australia's most epic rivalries, and while a lot of water has flown under the bridge, the competitive spirits of either refuses to die down. The good news for India is that Kohli is back in red-hot form following a magnificent IPL season, with the great Ricky Ponting ringing warning bells for the Aussies.
Border's advice for Smith: 'Don't be soft'
However, the same cannot be said for Smith, who had a rather low-key BGT, scoring a meagre 145 runs from seven innings at a concerning average of 29. At a time where Smith needs some confidence, he has received a completely opposite reaction from the legend Allan Border himself. The former Australia captain, has in fact slammed Smith for being too nice ahead of the WTC final, recalling his acts in the BGT 2023.
"You can have that friendly rivalry without being excessive, like Smith... in India, whenever he got a good ball, he gave a thumbs up. I thought that was a bit over the top. You are in a contest out there. I'd be playing with a harder edge. We [Aussies] play a certain style of cricket. Hard, but fair cricket," Border told CodeSports.
'Learn from New Zealand', says Border
Border explained his point further by citing New Zealand, who are considered the 'Nice guys' of world cricket. The legendary Australian cricketer added that while they carry the tag, when it comes to playing on the field, they are as ruthless and competitive as any other top-quality team, something the Australian team should imbibe.
"The Kiwis, they are the ones that play the goodie two shoes... but then they try to beat you," the former Aussie captain said.
To a certain extent, Border makes a valid point as four-Test series that concluded in March, lacked the spunk and fire of a usual India-Australia series. There were too many friendly vibes between the players and teams, which is extremely uncharacteristic of the rivalry that the world has come to know about.