Australia v New Zealand Tests
Smith responds to McCullum's 'immature' jibe
Ahead of Trans-Tasman series, Australian captain responds to New Zealand skipper's comments following Ben Stokes incident
3 November 2015, 10:29 AM AEST
Australian captain Steve Smith has hit back at New Zealand counterpart Brendon McCullum for labelling him "immature" in his newspaper column earlier this year.
Smith's decision not to withdraw a controversial obstructing the field appeal against England's Ben Stokes at Lord's in September drew criticism from some quarters, including from McCullum.
WATCH: Stokes given out obstructing the field
The Black Caps skipper, who will face-off with Smith in the first Commonwealth Bank Test starting on Thursday, said at the time that Smith would come to regret his decision not to withdraw his appeal.
On the eve of the Trans-Tasman series, Smith has responded.
"Yeah I was a little bit disappointed," Smith told News Corp of McCullum's comments.
"I didn’t really think it was any of his business."
Asked if the issue would be a topic of conversation during the summer, Smith responded: "You never know, they (the New Zealanders) might bring it up or something but for me it’s in the past — (I’ll) move on and focus on this summer now."
Smith maintains he did nothing wrong in the Stokes incident, which proved to be a flashpoint of the northern summer and an early test of the young captain's fledgling leadership.
During the second ODI, Stokes defended a delivery back to fast-bowler Mitchell Starc and in doing so stepped several paces out of his crease.
Seeing the England allrounder so far down the wicket, Starc threw the ball at the stumps at the striker's end and Stokes - as he turned to get back into his crease - deflected the ball away with his hand.
It was deemed that the allrounder had deliberately obstructed the throw and was given out, despite loud boos from the normally timid Lord's crowd and pleas from England captain Eoin Morgan for Smith to withdraw the appeal.
WATCH: Eoin Morgan gives his view on Stokes dismissal
"I actually wouldn’t change a thing," Smith said.
"I think what happened, Starcy threw the ball and Stokes willingly put his hand out when the ball was going to hit the stumps, so for me it was just out.
"If I faced the same situation again you’d get the same result.
"It was a nice little experience. Obviously the crowds can be quite vocal over in England, at Lord’s that day they were getting into you.
"That doesn’t happen too often but I think it was nice to look back and be able to say if that happened again I’d do the same thing. No regrets."
WATCH: Smith explains his decision not to withdraw his appeal
McCullum, who has been lauded for the spirit in which his side plays the game, was candid in his column for The Daily Mail just days after the incident.
Quick Single: McCullum questions Smith's decision
"It’s probably too early in Steve Smith’s captaincy career to appreciate this but one day he’ll look back at the Ben Stokes dismissal at Lord’s on Saturday and realise he missed a great opportunity to strike a blow for the spirit of cricket," he wrote.
"We’ve all done things on the field that we regret later. I know I certainly have. But it was disappointing that Smith had a chance to make a statement about the way he wants his side to play the game and chose to go the other way.
"Don’t get me wrong: winning is important. But the longer you play this game the more you realise that some things are too valuable to spoil.
"By not withdrawing the appeal, Smith showed his immaturity. He may live to regret it.
"I do wonder how Michael Clarke would have handled the situation had he still been in charge. I’m pretty sure he’d have withdrawn the appeal. I’m also pretty sure that Eoin Morgan would have done so, too.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum // Getty
"As for the current New Zealand side, I reckon none of us would have appealed in the first place.
"I’m not trying to set us up as being holier-than-thou. I just know how much we’ve discussed the way we want to play the game. Something would have told us that appealing for obstructing the field in those circumstances wasn’t right."
The Trans-Tasman rivals have faced off in two highly-charged matches already this year, both during the World Cup in February and March.
The Black Caps won a thrilling group stage match by just one wicket at Eden Park before the Australians exacted revenge with a thumping win in the final at the MCG.
Smith said the departure of Michael Clarke as skipper would not lead to a change in Australia's aggressive approach under his leadership.
"I think that’s the way we play our best cricket — if we’re aggressive and positive,” he said.
"We know there’s a line that can’t be crossed and our players are going to be playing that hard aggressive cricket and making sure we stay on the right side of that line."
The first Test between Australia and New Zealand starts at The Gabba on Thursday.