Australia head coach Justin Langer is upbeat about Steve Smith improving his form in the remaining two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Langer backed 'problem solver' Smith to rectify his recent batting issues and coach himself back to form.
Smith has looked a pale shadow of himself in the first two Tests against India. The 31-year-old is yet to play a double-digit knock in the series and has struggled against India's well-laid plans.
Speaking in a virtual press conference on Tuesday, Langer looked at the brighter side of Smith's dip in form.
"Imagine how good we will be when he does start batting - that's how I look at it. He hasn't had the best of series so far. He will be the first to admit that. My gosh, what I know about great players, the longer they miss out, the sooner they are coming good again. That puts a big smile on my face. How do you coach Steve? I don't coach Steve Smith. Steve Smith coaches himself and I am sure he is going to work it out," said Langer.
Ravichandran Ashwin had Steve Smith's number in the first innings of both the Tests. He got him caught on either side of the wicketkeeper for 1 and a duck with brilliant setups.
These are also Smith's lowest scores against India. The right-handed batsman later accepted that he needs to change his approach against the ace off-spinner.
In the second innings of the second Test in Melbourne, Jasprit Bumrah bowled the stalwart batsman behind his legs for 8.
Steve Smith requires some time in the middle: Justin Langer
Justin Langer added that Steve Smith will need to spend some time on the pitch to get his form back.
"Steve is always hitting a lot of balls. He did a lot leading up to it [MCG Test] but, again, there is nothing, even for the greatest of players, there is nothing that replaces time in the middle. And we know what a great problem solver he is, we know what a great player he is," Langer said.
With the series leveled at 1-1, Steve Smith's ability to score big knocks is arguably what separates the two teams at the moment.
Thus, his batting might be the difference between a comeback win and an embarrassing defeat for the Aussies in Sydney.
The third Test will start on Thursday, January 7.Published 05 Jan 2021, 10:38 IST