Former Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin believes in-form superstar Steve Smith must not only return to Australian side T20 but also open the batting.
Haddin’s call came amid Smith’s last supreme performance with the bat, evoking 66 runs on just 33 balls in a “brutal” hit, Haddin said, in the Sydney Sixers’ BBL clash against the Hurricanes from Hobart on Monday evening.
Opening the bat for the fourth straight T20 game, Smith broke four fours and six sixes as the Hurricanes’ bowling offense had no answers for the in-form right-hander – that was until he was trapped LBW thanks to a full throw from Nathan Ellis. The bizarre dismissal robbed Smith of cricketing history as no batter has ever hit three consecutive T20 centuries.
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Nonetheless, it took Smith’s four-game total in BBL12 to 328 – ranked seventh overall in the competition, despite the top six all having played at least 11 games – after previous hits of 36, 101 and 125 no eliminated. His 24 sixes for the tournament so far are, remarkably, the most of any player this summer – an “absolutely stunning” statistic, according to Fox Cricket’s Isa Guha.
Fox Cricket’s Brett Lee added: “This has just been another Steven Smith masterclass.
“He is in career best form, certainly in this format of play…His bat swing is back.
“He dines at the BBL.
“When you look back this week for Steven Smith…he decimated bowling attacks all over Australia.”
Smith’s stunning Big Bash campaign comes months after he was sidelined for most of Australia’s T20 World Cup campaign, in which he won just three of four games.
Before the tournament, his T20I strike rate since the start of 2021 was 111.45 over 18 matches, which raised some alarm among selectors.
But Smith’s strike rate of 180.21 over his last four games with the Sixers is ranked first in the BBL, showing terrific timing, power and class in the crease.
While Smith’s attention will quickly turn to other formats – Australia have two rounds of crunch Tests against India and England ahead of the ODI World Cup in October and November – national coaches will also be wary. of the next T20 World Cup, which will be held in the West. India in 2024.
Asked during Fox Cricket’s broadcast of the Hurricanes-Sixers clash if Smith should be Australia’s T20 opener, Haddin said: “I don’t think you can’t use someone in that form. I think it will fit on top of the order. He’s only 33, he’s got another World Cup in him in the 20 overs (format), so why not?
“Steve Smith is one of the best, if not the best, in the world who plays slow wickets – and that’s what the West Indies (grounds) are going to be.
“In this kind of form, he will undoubtedly be at the top of the order.”
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Lee, however, said selectors could take a different route.
“There are a few months between the glasses, so to speak, until the next game of T20, but for me it depends on what they think with the next generation coming,” Lee told Fox Cricket.
“If there’s a tournament or a World Cup going on, 100% yes. But if it’s far enough away, they might choose an option where they bring in another younger cricketer and think about the next one. generation.
“It all comes down to workload…He’s going to play Test cricket for as long as he can – and so he should, he’s been one of the best in the world.”
When asked if he wanted to bat higher up the order, Smith told Fox Cricket after the match: “Yes, absolutely.
“I think I hit the ball in pretty unique areas, so with two defenders it kind of helps me and I can get into my job. Then when they take out the defenders, I’m in it and I can just hit the holes or hit the ball over the fence, which I’ve done a few times in the last few games.
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“It was a lot of fun. I hope I can keep doing this for a little while.
Smith’s recent excellent form in T20 comes after recording a double century of unbeaten Test against West Indies, followed by half a century and a century in separate Tests against South Africa. He also had scores of 80 not knocked out and 94 in two separate ODIs against England before the Tests.
Smith said in November he had made some changes to his unique hitting technique in a bid to help him get back to career-best form – changes that have undoubtedly paid off this summer.
Former England bowler Isa Guha explained on Monday night the key adjustments Smith had made.
“He talked about opening up his grip, almost like playing backspin like a tennis player rather than topspin,” she told Fox Cricket.
“It allows him to have that reach under the ball and also the lateral approach to get that power in the shot.”