Sindhu, in fact, became a shuttlecock, so to speak, between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh chief ministers K.C. Rao and N. Chandrababu Naidu, respectively. Both tried to appropriate her success by bestowing lavish felicitations and money. Naidu even went to the extent of playing a few points of badminton with Sindhu on the dais at a celebration function in Vijayawada, his footwork ginger and smile smug.
I couldn't understand the meaning of the phrase in the bold text. I know the meaning of the words but the way the sentence was framed confused me. I understand what ginger means here, but the missing linking verbs make it difficult to understand the phrase.
Could you explain it?