SK Trivia: The 'other' Steve Smith you may not know about
- Do you know about the other Steve Smith who also played for Australia in the 1980s but couldn’t attain similar success to the current great?
Controversies aside, former Aussie captain Steve Smith is well on his way to becoming an all-time great of the game. The mammoth tally of 774 runs he racked up in seven innings in Ashes 2019 -- with a double hundred and two hundreds -- will only add to his legend.
Smith is currently in a battle with Indian captain Virat Kohli for the crown of the world’s best batsman. But many believe there is no doubt about who the superior Test player is.
Smith’s Test stats make for rather fascinating numbers. In 68 matches, he has amassed 6973 runs at a sensational average of 64.56, with 26 hundreds (three of them being double hundreds) and 27 fifties. He is among only six cricketers, past and present combined, to have a Test average of 60-plus.
And while Smith’s ODI numbers are not as striking, they are impressive nonetheless: 3810 runs in 118 one-day matches at an average of 41.41, with eight hundreds and 23 fifties.
While Smith is undoubtedly a renowned name in world cricket today, do you know that there was another Steve Smith who played for Australia, but couldn’t attain similar success?
The other Steve Smith
Steve Barry Smith was an opener who represented Australia in both Tests and ODIs in the 1980s. He made his ODI debut against New Zealand at Perth, on 6 February 6 1983. He went on to represent Australia in 28 ODIs, and scored 861 runs at a reasonable average of 39.13, with two hundreds and eight fifties.
Smith got his highest score of 117 in his very third ODI, against New Zealand at Melbourne, on 13 February 1983 - in a game that Australia won by 149 runs. Smith’s second one-day ton was a 106 against Pakistan at Sydney, on 25 January 1984. This time Australia won by 87 runs.
Smith scored three fifties in what turned out to be his last four ODI innings. He made 54 against West Indies at Melbourne on 10 February 1985, yet never played another one-dayer as he decided to join the rebel tour to South Africa in 1985-86.
Before heading to Africa, Smith played in three Tests in West Indies from March to April 1984, and had a horrid time, managing only 41 runs in five innings with a best of 12. He ended his Test career with an atrocious average of 8.20.
Born in New South Wales, Smith played for NSW. In a first-class career that lasted a decade, he notched up 5248 runs in 90 games at an average of just under 36, with 12 hundreds.
As for the rebel tour to South Africa in 1985-86, Smith tasted impressive success, and even scored a hundred in the third Test (unrecognised) at Johannesburg. He did even better in 1986-87, adding a couple of more centuries.
Across the tours he racked up 1163 runs at a healthy average of 52.86, and was even anointed one of South Africa's Cricketers of the Year. The tour, however, spelled the end of his international career with Australia.
Smith's return to Australia to play first-class cricket wasn’t fruitful as he failed to get the big scores. He subsequently moved to South Africa and played for Transvaal for two seasons, before retiring from first-class cricket.