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Mark Taylor credits India’s bowling plans against Steve Smith, dismisses talks about the player's ‘form slump’

Steve Smith has managed only ten runs from two Tests against India.
Steve Smith has managed only ten runs from two Tests against India.
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Modified 06 Jan 2021, 13:31 IST
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Former Australia captain Mark Taylor has dismissed talks of Steve Smith's ‘form slump’ while crediting Indian bowlers for restricting the batsman.

Steve Smith has scored only ten runs in four innings in the ongoing series against India. Not only did he bag his first-ever first-innings duck in Test cricket, he also registered a nought for the first time in four years in the longest format of the game, doing so at his happy-hunting venue ground in Melbourne.

Taylor backed his countryman to get back to scoring ways and has suggested that Smith should look to rotate the strike more often early in his innings, saying in this regard:

“I do not believe Smith is in a form slump. His stance, the idiosyncrasies, these are all things that have made him a great batsman. The main difference to me is the opposition’s plans have worked for the first time in years. There’s not much more to it than that."

Taylor added the following in this regard while writing in his column for the Sydney Morning Herald:

“What India have done better than most sides is maintain a more disciplined line, and restricted his ability to score."

Taylor revealed that Steve Smith felt 'terrible' about his batting ahead of the 2019 Ashes but turned things around and was a key player in the series. The former Australian opener has backed the champion batsman to regain his scoring touch against India.

Steve Smith should be more aggressive: Mark Taylor

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Mark Taylor suggests that Steve Smith should be more aggressive in his batting approach, as the Indian pace attack wears a depleted look due to the absence of Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav.

“I would like to see him be more aggressive and force India to change their approach, bearing in mind the visitors’ fast-bowling stocks are being tested because of injuries to Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav. As well as Mohammed Siraj bowled on debut in Melbourne, it’s a big ask to expect a Test newcomer to hold such high standards so early in his career."

Mark Taylor proceeded to elaborate on what he meant by 'aggressive', urging Steve Smith to be watchful early on and try to rotate the strike.

“When I say aggressive, I’m not urging Smith to play a risky shot to find the boundary, which is the school of thought for many modern players. He just needs to rotate the strike more – something I feel only Marnus Labuschagne has done well for Australia this series,” Mark Taylor concluded.

Steve Smith scored back-to-back hundreds against India in the ODIs, but an innings of 46 (second T20I) remains his best effort with the bat across formats in his next eight outings. He started the Test series as the No.1 ranked Test batsman but has now slipped down to third, behind Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli.

With the Test series intriguingly poised at 1-1, the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Thursday assumes added significance. With a win at the SCG, India will retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The result of this series will also play a crucial role in determining the ICC World Test Championship finalists.

Published 06 Jan 2021, 13:31 IST
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