Warner tells Smith to stop delays
Wanderer ... Graeme Smith. Photo: Getty Images
DAVID WARNER says South Africa's captain Graeme Smith is needlessly wasting time by repeatedly rearing away from his crease because of concerns with the sightscreen.
The Proteas' opening batsman frustrated Australia during the first Test in Brisbane, stopping bowlers in their tracks with vision complaints. On the final day on Tuesday, he was the recipient of a verbal barrage - and then a send-off - from fired-up quick James Pattinson when he pulled away at the last second because a bird flew in front of his line of sight.
Warner, a fellow opener, said he could not understand why Smith continually held up the game.
''I wish he would stop,'' he said on Thursday, launching the Australia Day Twenty20 international at Sydney's ANZ Stadium. ''I don't think you saw any of our players stop once because of guys walking behind the sightscreen. I don't know how you can be that distracted or what they're looking at or what they're seeing.
''They've got to try and take those little distractions out of their mind because that could be something that's detracting from their game and preventing them from staying out there for longer periods.''
Australia were able to keep Smith's impact to a minimum in the drawn first Test, restricting him to scores of 10 and 23, with Pattinson being behind his removal on both occasions. The left-hander's time wasting, however, irked the hosts.
''I'm only saying it's too much because the activity behind the sightscreen; if the guy's in the fourth tier at the MCG and you see someone move, you're looking way too much,'' Warner said.
''The other day, A.B. de Villiers played a ball when the sightscreen was still on the advertising board, so if he's just concentrating on the specifics of the bowler then that's fantastic. But if someone is moving away because a guy is peeking his head behind the sightscreen … if you're picking those little things up, I think you're not watching the bowler hard enough.''
Warner suspects Smith and others use the approach, holding up play citing sightscreen intrusion, as a tactic to give themselves more time, particularly against bowlers who race through overs like swing exponent Ben Hilfenhaus.
''You look at someone like Hilfy who bowls his overs faster than a spinner. A lot of the batsmen don't like to be rushed,'' he said. ''Jonathan Trott from England … they're the type of guys who like to look at the bowler, do their little routine and then face up.
''Everyone's got their little thing and guys get a little bit edgy. That's where people lose it a little bit.''
Meanwhile, Warner said he can learn from opening partner Ed Cowan in choosing the balls he hits and leaves. ''I have to start respecting my wicket a little bit more and being a bit more consistent, '' he said.