Steven Smith, often compared to the legendary Don Bradman, has emerged as a modern marvel in the world of cricket. With a staggering average of 59.56, the highest among the 17 players with more than 9000 Test runs, Smith’s prowess with the bat is truly extraordinary. In this blog post, we delve into insights shared by his teammates and opponents to unravel what makes Smith so special. Join us as we analyze his batting style, adaptability, work ethic, and the awe-inspiring impact he has on opposition bowlers.
Batting Partner Perspectives:
Usman Khawaja, who has shared numerous century stands with Smith, highlights his unyielding focus and intensity at the crease. Smith’s ability to lock in and zone out distractions makes it clear that his partners must simply let him be. Such understanding and trust have fostered successful partnerships throughout their time playing for Australia.
Shane Watson emphasizes Smith’s unwavering self-assurance and the quiet confidence he exudes. Opposing bowlers face a daunting task as Smith possesses an innate understanding of the game and how to counter any challenge thrown at him. Watson admires Smith’s ability to adapt his game to combat different plans of attack, making it evident that his adaptability is a key factor in his success.
Adam Voges emphasizes Smith’s exceptional ability to comprehend the intentions of the opposition and counter them effectively. This sense of control instills confidence in his batting partners, allowing them to thrive alongside him. Smith’s unrivaled comprehension of the game grants him a significant advantage, setting him apart from his peers.
Peter Siddle recalls his experience batting with Smith and witnessing firsthand the remarkable mindset he possesses. Siddle explains that Smith’s unwavering focus on batting sets him apart from the rest. The chats between overs were limited, as Smith seemed to transcend into a different realm of concentration and understanding. Siddle admits feeling like he was on a different level compared to the rest of the players, a testament to Smith’s ability to grasp the nuances of the game.
The Secret of Smith’s Brilliance:
Watson credits Smith’s adaptability as the most outstanding aspect of his game. While other batsmen stick to their preferred style, Smith adjusts his approach depending on the bowlers and conditions. His ability to shuffle across the crease or make minute adjustments in his setup showcases his unmatched adaptability, enabling him to thrive in diverse game situations.
Voges attributes Smith’s success to his impeccable contact points. Smith consistently hits the ball under his eyes, allowing him to manipulate its trajectory and find gaps in the field. This exceptional skill in hitting the ball precisely where fielders aren’t positioned sets him apart and enables him to score off even the best deliveries.
Khawaja highlights Smith’s remarkable consistency, evident in his career average of 60 after 100 Test matches. Smith’s insatiable hunger, unwavering work ethic, and profound understanding of the game contribute to his exceptional performances. Khawaja believes that Smith possesses an intangible quality that elevates him above other players, leading to his extraordinary average.
Watson further praises Smith’s dedication to practice, noting his relentless desire to hit balls even after impressive innings. Smith’s appetite for practice and his unrelenting pursuit of improvement are key factors in his ability to bat for long periods and maintain a high level of performance.
The Impact on Opposition Bowlers:
Siddle describes the transformation in the game when Smith is at the crease. As he settles in, oppositionbowlers’ confidence gradually diminishes. They resort to alternate plans and strategies, but Smith remains steadfast in his approach, drawing them into bowling as he desires. This ability to dictate the game and force bowlers into making mistakes has been a significant factor in Smith’s success.
Khawaja shares his experiences playing against Smith, expressing how effortlessly Smith makes the game look easy. Even against formidable opponents and challenging conditions, Smith’s skill and technique make even the fastest bowlers appear slow. His ability to exploit the weaknesses of the opposition creates a sense of frustration among bowlers, further adding to his impact on the game.
Voges acknowledges that opposition bowlers are often tempted to bowl straight to Smith, knowing that a slight misjudgment could lead to his dismissal. However, Smith rarely misses such opportunities, constantly putting pressure on bowlers to maintain consistency and precision. This tactical brilliance allows Smith to manipulate the field and score runs even off the best deliveries.
Siddle adds that Smith’s patience and knack for capitalizing on bowlers’ mistakes can be infuriating for his opponents. Despite the best-laid plans, bowlers find themselves falling into Smith’s trap, leaking runs and struggling to find a breakthrough. His ability to exploit their vulnerabilities and force them into suboptimal strategies sets him apart as a batsman.
Steven Smith’s exceptional batting abilities and the impact he has on the game make him a true cricketing genius. His adaptability, precision, and unwavering focus set him apart from his contemporaries. Smith’s insatiable hunger for hitting balls, relentless work ethic, and profound understanding of the game contribute to his consistent performances. Opposing bowlers are left in awe of his skill, as he effortlessly dismantles their plans and capitalizes on their mistakes.
As the cricketing world marvels at the brilliance of Steven Smith, it is clear that he has established himself as one of the greatest Test batsmen of his era. His extraordinary achievements and unparalleled skills continue to captivate fans and leave a lasting legacy in the sport.