‘The spirit of cricket, it’s a playful line’

The Australian cricketer who was part of the 2023 Ashes has taken a dig at Ben Stokes for his controversial review of a dropped catch on the final day of the fifth Test at The Oval.

Two months after the historic 2023 Ashes series ended, comments and controversies still continue. The latest chapter comes from Australia’s side of the story.

talking to abc sportMany Australian players recalled an incident on the final day of the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval, when Steve Smith bowled a ball at backward short leg, where Ben Stokes had positioned himself.

Stokes jumped and caught the ball with his right hand, but on the way down his hand hit the side of his thigh and he dropped the ball as he was about to celebrate.

The umpire on the field declared it not out. However, Stokes went up to review the decision. The TV umpire upheld the on-field call, after which Stokes had a lengthy conversation with the on-field umpires and questioned the decision.

Several incidents took place in the 2023 Ashes which sparked discussion on the spirit of cricket. The incident once again raised the issue, with Australian players and media criticizing Stokes for taking the review. Smith, the batsman in question, expressed similar sentiments while speaking to ABC Sports.

“When Stokesy tried to catch the ball and throw it on the deck, just looking at him and seeing his body language, he knew it wasn’t out,” Smith said. “Going up was an interesting choice because I’m pretty sure he knew he threw the ball.”

After missing the catch, Smith was seen talking to the England players. Travis Head, who was at the other end during the incident, revealed what Smith had said to the English players. “Steve had some choice words at the time when you could see him pointing there and saying ‘is this the gray area of ​​the spirit of cricket again,'” Head said.

“I just said, ‘Here’s your chance to show your spirit of cricket,'” Smith said.

Usman Khawaja also commented on the incident, saying, “It’s a playful line, the spirit of cricket, isn’t it?”

Cameron Green also joined the conversation and described Stokes’ actions as hypocritical in relation to the spirit of cricket. “They talk about it, yes, in the spirit of the game and I am not sure if that (Stokes’ dropped catch) is like that. A little hypocritical, I would say,” Green said.

Smith was out on 54 runs after a few overs off the bowling of Chris Woakes. England then dismissed the second half of the Australian batting line-up cheaply, bowling them out for 334 and winning the game by 49 runs, leveling the series at 2–2.

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