SYDNEY: On Tuesday, Australian batting powerhouse Steve Smith warned India that his game had finally clicked’ and that he was prepared to validate his ranking as the top test batsman in the world.
“Smith admitted he was unhappy with his recent Indian Premier League displays for the Rajasthan Royals, saying, “I never really got into a decent groove.
But he felt something had changed this week as he waited for the upcoming series against India, which begins in Sydney on Friday with the first One-Day International.
I’ve kind of found my hands over the last few days, which I’m really excited about,” he told reporters on a conference call.” “It took me about three or four months to do that but now I’ve found it pleasing.”
It was hard to describe what was new, the 31-year-old said but it left him ‘with a huge grin on my face’ and ready to reach the practise nets.
He said It’s getting that feel, the look of the bat, the right way to get the toe, the way my hands come up on the bat.” “It’s hard to explain, but until about two days ago it wasn’t right, then something sort of clicked in.”
Though Smith is prone to short-pitched balls, there is a perception that he was unfazed at the possibility of India’s bowling attack peppering him with bouncers.
In a way, it’s a kind of flattery if that’s the only way people think they can get me out when so many choices have been exhausted,” he said.”
It gives me a great deal of confidence.” He said his IPL issues stemmed from a failure to play his natural game.”
I got mixed up trying to be too dominant a little bit, that’s not exactly my game,’ he said.
“There are players around the world who can hit sixes at will and for me it’s about playing proper cricket shots, hitting the gaps, manipulating the field, and I am not one of those.”
Smith, who, after he was suspended for his role in the 2018 ball-tampering fiasco, surrendered the Australian captaincy, played down his chances of resuming leadership duties.
He said he was concentrating on helping Test Captain Tim Paine and limited-off skipper Aaron Finch, but his potential chances were not entirely ruled out.
It’s just about doing my work at the moment and we’ll see what the future brings,” he said, “I haven’t given too much thought to it.
Meanwhile, Indian head coach Ravi Shastri admitted that his team lacks the pink-ball expertise of Australia, but is convinced that their ‘fabulous five’ pacemen will bowl the visitors to a second consecutive Down Under Test Series victory.
Since 2015, Smith Australia has played seven day-night tests and won each of them, the most by any nation.
India was late in accepting the novelty and last year played their first pink-ball match in Kolkata against Bangladesh.
With a pink-ball competition in Adelaide from December 17, a mouth-watering four-Test series will get underway between the top two teams in the World Test Championship standings.
Shastri told Sportstar magazine, “We’re starting with pink-ball cricket, where we lack experience.” We’ve only played one pink-ball test, but there’s a qualitative gap between Australia and [Bangladesh]. It is like chalk and cheese. “In domestic cricket, our boys haven’t played a lot of pink balls, but I just want them to go and enjoy their game.”
After the Adelaide Test, skipper Virat Kohli, who led India to their maiden Test series win in Australia two seasons ago, will return home to attend his first child’s birth.
Though in the last three tests it would take some sheen off India’s batting lineup, Shastri was adamant that respectable totals could be defended by India’s five-member pace attack, including Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
“We’ve had a fabulous five… On the board, you put up runs and watch these fast bowlers search for the opposition. In their own den, they will beat Australia.’
The assault that also includes Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, and Navdeep Saini, Shastri said is capable of giving headache to Australia.
Yadav’s got the background. Saini is quick and young. One of the best in industry, Bumrah. It’s raring Shami to go. The former all-rounder noted, “You put up runs on the board and watch these fast bowlers hunt the opposition,” Siraj is an exciting prospect. In their own den, they will beat Australia.’
The squad had no pressure and India will play ‘fearless cricket’ against the opponents perceived to be the toughest by Shastri. Ask every international player about it and he’ll tell you it’s different. It is demanding. In the ’80s, Hardest used to be the West Indies and post the Australia was it.
Three One-Day Internationals, three Twenty20 Internationals and four Tests will be played by Australia and India during the tour.