May 18, 2022

Steve Smith’s days as an all-format player could be numbered

IPL winner Warne and former T20 national manager Mark Waugh have both raised questions about whether Australia would be better placed instead with a player with more power.

“When you have Smith as Mr Fix-It, when he’s still there at the end, then [Matthew] wade or [Marcus] Stoinis might not get a hit which means Australia won’t be able to post that huge scoreline,” Warne said on Fox Cricket during the Sri Lanka Series.

“You can’t waste these guys, these power hitters have to support these deliveries. These guys must be out there.

Indian Premier League franchises have delivered their verdict, snubbing it at last weekend’s mega auction. Twelve months earlier, Rajasthan Royals released him from a $2million deal.

Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell, two of Australia’s most experienced T20 representatives, say Smith still has an important role to play at bat and with his on-court guidance as a senior player.

Smith’s teammates cite his twin 62 one-day hits over centuries in one-day internationals against India at the end of 2020 as proof he can score at a high rate.

“It gives people confidence that we have arguably the best player of our generation out there to mop things up with the bat if things don’t go our way,” Stoinis said.

“It also means that if you lose wickets in the power play, it comes in and you don’t expose someone like me or Maxy, who are there for a different type of role.

“I’ve played a lot of T20s against and with Smudge. You watch Smudge in Big Bash and he’s not there to fix it. He’s there to get around stumps and hit six on square leg and backhand hitting.

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“His cricket brain, how he understands the game, how he plays the situation in front of him, we can be sure he is doing what he believes for the team in this situation.”

Smith is one of Australia’s best spin players, an intermediate staple in the T20s, but Inglis, after a few early hiccups, proved comfortable against slow bowling.

“In Australia it’s probably a little easier to play pirouettes, but his footwork patterns are really sharp,” Maxwell said.

“He’s able to move forwards and backwards, use his feet, he sweeps both sides which makes him a real grip to tackle a pitch and he’s able to access different parts of the pitch to put pressure on the opposition, which is a massive key in the face of spin in any part of the world, really.

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