Amidst strong opinions floating about Steven Smith’s technique and position in the batting order following Australia’s unsuccessful campaign of the Ashes, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has come out in strong support of Steven Smith to stay put and continue batting at No. 3. In his column on ESPNCricinfo.com, Ponting wrote, “I firmly believe that as Australia’s new captain Steven Smith should continue batting at No. 3 once he takes on the role. I know there have been a few people saying that he’s not a long-term option in that position based on what they have seen in this Ashes series, but I definitely think it is where he should bat from here on.”
Entering the series with high expectations following his ascension to the top of the World Batting Rankings, Steven Smith was billed as chief threat to the English fast bowling duo – Stuart Board and James Anderson, but had a disappointing series instead. Except for double century and fifty at Lords, Smith managed scores of only 0, 7, 8, 6, and 5 in the series acceding the Number 1 position in the rankings to Joe Root. Concerns were raised on his technique when his pronounced trigger movement found him chasing deliveries that should have been left. In fact, his dismissal in the second innings of the Trent Bridge test match was described as “horrific” by Shane Warne.
However, Ponting feels that the Ashes have been a huge learning curve of the young batsman who is set to take over the reins with Michael Clarke’s retirement. At the age of 26, Steven Smith will be Australia’s youngest captain ever and Ponting feels that Smith has some thinking to do, both on his foot movement and how his role within in the team will change with the added burden of captaincy.
Earlier this week, Smith had hinted that he might bat lower down the order. When asked ahead of the Northampton game if he will do so to provide support to the inexperienced middle order, Smith said, “I’ve been thinking about it and it is also going to come down to the makeup of the team and what will fit best. I haven’t completely decided to stay at three or not, we will wait and see. I batted four at the end of last summer when Michael was out and I was quite successful batting there as well.
“I’ll just have to wait and see what the makeup of the team is and what sits best with the team and we’ll see from there.”
With David Warner who was appointed as his deputy and former Australian player and current coach Darren Lehmann, Smith has his task cut out for him as Australia looks forward to put away the horrors of the Ashes ahead of the Bangladesh tour as they hope to salvage some pride in the limited-overs against English later this week.
Author : Kritin Gupta
Editor : Akanksha Agarwal