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An open letter to Australian captain Steve Smith

Steve Smith
Steve Smith
Manish Pathak
FEATURED WRITER
Modified 21 Oct 2016, 14:00 IST
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Dear Steve Smith,

This is not a letter which will criticise you in any which way, but it is one where as your fan, I would like to suggest that you can be so much more that what you have already become.

While, there is no denying the fact that your records in all the different formats need all the accolades possible and then some more to boot, and then there is the fact that you have conquered your inner demons to go on to become one of the shining lights in the World right now.

But then the Sri Lankan tour came along, and the sight of you standing in slips under your floppy, bereft of any ideas struck and although you battled hard, the results refused to fall in your corner. From not losing any Test match to losing three in a succession is a major blip in your glittering career.

And then suddenly, the sight of a young Smith dawned on me, a young blonde who was originally included in the Australian squad because of his exuberance and handy leg-breaks. Although your batting was initially not according to International standards, you displayed enough potential with the ball, and many believed that if you are invested into with conviction you could be a Test leg spinner.

And then you were dropped, and people questioned your worth in the side, and you being the fighter decided to take everyone head on decided to revamp your batting entirely. From being a walking wicket, a leg-spinner who could wield the long handle, you became the leading batsman in the World and then eventually the Australian captain. This journey is awe-inspiring and one that exemplifies the grit a human body possesses.

Now coming back to Sri Lanka, when you were looking around for answers to the many undecipherable questions, one could not help but think why Smith leg-spinner was not a potent weapon with the ball anymore. In the quest of being a leading batsman, you have certainly put your bowling talent on the mat, but the question is why?

Even when you decided to roll your arms occasionally, more to fill in the overs, and to give your toothless spinners a break, you managed to land the ball in the business areas of the pitch and extracted more turn than a Jon Holland or a Stephen O'Keefe. Well, if you would remember, Cameron White was the specialist spinner during Australia's 2008 tour to India. Now, any amateur will say that you are a better bowler than White by a fair shout. And this is no exaggeration in any which way.

Thus, I wonder why the leg-break bowler has been neglected to such a great extent, when a genuine all-rounder could have taken centre stage, more so in the spinning conditions of Asia. This would have even given you a cushion, an opportunity to play five attacking bowlers, and then an extra batsman too. Also, you could have been more in tune with the conditions as a bowler can gauge conditions better which only helps a batsman.

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Knowing you and having followed your career so closely, I only hope that the fight you have shown when it has come to your batting, you can start work on your bowling too, and then the journey from a bits and pieces cricketers to a full-fledged all-rounder will be complete.

As an ardent cricket fan, and as an admirer of your grit and skills, I only hope that you take another challenge by the horns and come out as a winner.

Challenges ahead, but then you are the last person to shirk challenges. Hope indeed!

Yours sincerely,

A fan

Published 22 Aug 2016, 21:27 IST
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