Amid scrutiny over his new role as Test opener, Steve Smith has responded to critics, deeming the commentary excessive. The former Australia captain faced criticism following modest scores against the West Indies in Adelaide and Brisbane. Notable figures like Michael Vaughan and Mark Waugh had raised doubts about his unconventional technique against the new ball’s swing and seam movement.
Despite accumulating over 16,000 international runs with his distinct style, concerns lingered about its effectiveness at the top. The Australia opener silenced critics with a resilient 91-run innings at the Gabba and maintained a commendable 60 average across four innings. Addressing recent critiques, the right-handed batter defended his adaptability to opening.
“There was a lot of commentary around I’d failed in two or three innings or whatever it was. I had a not-out and two low scores. And now I think I’m averaging 60 as an opener. I didn’t really read too much into it. It was just another position. I’ve batted against a new ball numerous times coming in early,” said Smith as quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I’ve thought about it; whether we could do different things. Maybe, I could have taken five balls against Shamar [Joseph], he was on fire, obviously. But then I run the risk of not getting a run off the last ball and Hoff having to take all six from Alzarri [Joseph], who’s a pretty good bowler as well. You can weigh those things up. Four/two is the traditional way to do things, I suppose, and it felt right at the time. But yeah, it wasn’t to be,” he added.
New faces to join Aussie Pantheon ahead of white ball assignment
Australia are set to introduce two fresh faces as they kick off the one-day international series against the West Indies in Melbourne on Friday. Lance Morris, known for his rapid pace and dubbed the ‘Wild Thing’, earns his maiden cap for the national team. Meanwhile, Xavier Bartlett is poised to start ahead of Will Sutherland, who received a late call-up to the squad.
With Mitchell Marsh and retired David Warner absent, Australia will experiment with a revamped top order, featuring Josh Inglis partnering with Travis Head at the opening slot, and Cameron Green elevated to No.3, according to Smith. This adjustment means promising talent Jake Fraser-McGurk, accustomed to excelling in the top order, might have to bide his time before making his international debut.