Cricket - Featured - October 9, 2019

The Resurgence of Steve Smith as a Batsman in World Cricket

Journey of Steve Smith - this generation's one of the best batsman ever.

Steve Smith

Shane Warne, one of the great players who played the game called it a day in January 2007. The contribution of the Victoria born leggie to the game and the Australian Cricket Board is monumental; it will be difficult for any player to replicate his performance in the near future.  Steven Smith (Steve Smith) walked into the international scene and was relatively compared with Shane Warne. He began his career as a leg spinner and a lower middle-order batsman. The latter made his international debut against Pakistan in the 2010 T20I match at the Mecca of Cricket, MCG. In his early days, he didn’t quite thrive at the International Arena, which also raised some questions about the selection method.

It was during the 2012-13 season that Steve Smith strengthened his batting abilities and the outcome was quite obvious in the 2013 Ashes series. He had accumulated 327 runs with a good average of 36, including two centuries. Steven Smith’s re-emergence persuaded the cricket experts that he had the entire arsenal to thrive on the largest stage with the willow. The unorthodox batting ability proved to be efficient for the right-handed batsman and became a frequent feature on the Aussie side.

Smith performed important knocks, including the Ashes sealing a hundred at the MCG, and followed him with an equally impressive tour of South Africa. His contributions were really worthwhile as Australia managed to maintain win in each of these series. As a result, the 2013-14 season was a new season for Smith. However, it was in the following season that he established himself as the best in the world. He had a stellar home series against India, and he couldn’t look back. Runs came to him under all conditions against all the bowling fronts as he climbed the ladder in 2015 to be ranked No. 1 Batsman in Test cricket and managed to keep his position efficiently over the years. In the 2015 Ashes Tour of England, Smith accumulated two hundred, including a double hundred at Lords. He was at his best in the 2017 Tour of India, as well, where he scored a lot and proved that he could make runs in both seaming and spinning conditions.

White-ball cricket has also been a success story for Smith, though not as much as his heroics in the longest form. The 2015 World Cup was the most memorable for him as he became the first player to score five consecutive fifty-plus points in the history of the tournament. Smith had effectively established a sensational reputation for himself in the cricketing world.

Living through the dark and coming out on top once again

However, the Tour to South Africa in March 2018 marked the start of another dark stage of his career. The on-field controversy during the series found that Australia was guilty of ball-tampering, and Smith was handed a one-test ban by the ICC, but the punishment back home by Cricket Australia (CA) was harsh — a one-year ban on all forms of cricket was handed over. Smith also had a contract with IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals for the 2018 season that had been terminated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India as a result of the sanctions.

In March 2019, Steve Smith had a press briefing at Sydney Airport, where he was in tears in front of the press, saying he had nothing to add to Cricket Australia’s report, taking full responsibility as captain of the Australian cricket team, and making a serious error of judgment. “It was a failure of leadership, my leadership,” said Steve Smith. He took the opportunity to ask for forgiveness from his, “teammates, to fans of cricket all over the world and to all Australians who are disappointed and angry.” He added, “I know I will regret this for the rest of my life. I’m absolutely gutted. I hope in time I can earn back respect and forgiveness.”

Steve Smith’s Return to International Cricket

After serving a one-year ban from Cricket Australia, Steve Smith was given the contract for the 2019-20 season as a result of which Steve Smith was named to the Australian team for the 2019 ICC World Cup in April 2019. For Australia in the World Cup, he did everything he could and matched Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar’s record of four 50+ scores in the Cricket World Cup knockouts. He scored 379 runs in the tournament, averaging 37.90, including four fifties.

In July 2019, the 30-year-old was named in Australian squad for 2019 Ashes series in England. Smith scored 144 in the first Test at Edgbaston, the first century of the series, which was his 24th test century in his 118th innings, making him the second-fastest to score 24 test centuries behind Don Bradman. Smith scored his 10th century in the Ashes in the second inning of the first test, and his 25th century in the Tests. Hitting 80 in the first innings of the second Ashes Test, he was struck by 148.7 kmph delivery which hit on the left side of his neck, under his ear; Steve Smith returned to the crease and was dismissed for 92 LBW. And later on day five of the second test match, Marcus Labuschagne became the first concussion substitute in the history of the game as he replaced Steve Smith.

Steve Smith is back on the top of the mountain as he reclaimed the No.1 Test batting ranking because of his brilliant performances, which broke the records in the ongoing Ashes series. In the first innings of the fourth test match, he smashed a brilliant double ton, which was his third double century and his third century in the 2019 Ashes series, and also became the first player to score more than 500 runs in three consecutive Ashes series.

His test cricket numbers are truly magical, he’s played 67 test matches so far where he’s scored 6,870 runs, including 26 centuries (3 double centuries) and 26 half-centuries with an average 65.81, that’s just how good he is in Test cricket. His return to the international scene after so much drama is truly remarkable, and this proves his class and dedication to the game.

 

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