Steve Smith: A legend in the making
He does not follow the coaching manual; he does not possess a natural flair that makes you gape at him in awe. Yet, he is arguably the best batsman in the longest format of the game at the moment.
Steve Smith has generated almost dizzying numbers in his Test career so far. In the 119 innings that he has played, the Australian has scored 6485 runs at a whopping average of 62.96, including 25 hundreds and 24 fifties.
Moreover, in his last 50 innings, the master batsman has scored 3019 runs in Test cricket. Smith’s average of 62.96 in the longest format of the game is second only to the incomparable Sir Don Bradman, the ultimate batting divinity.
Smith’s method of milking runs can frustrate the best of bowlers. He has a huge back lift, and any fast bowler could be forgiven for thinking that they might sneak one past his bat, however, Smith just thumps him down the ground for four with ease. If a bowler packs the off-side field, Smith just shuffles across his stumps in a flash, and delectably flicks him past mid-wicket.
In the first Ashes Test, Smith conjured two hundreds, enabling Australia to crush England by 251 runs. Following those stellar displays, former Australian captain, Steve Waugh lavished praise on the 30-year-old, saying: “It’s like he analyses every ball, and it’s like a computer - he spits out the answer.”
Smith is arguably the best Test batsman in the world at the moment, even edging out Indian batting superstar Virat Kohli. Kohli has scored 25 hundreds in Tests from 131 innings, while Smith has managed the same number in 12 fewer innings.
Kohli currently has 6613 runs in Tests at an average of 53.76, while Smith has 6485 runs at an average of 62.96. The Australian has also scored 25 fifties in the format, as compared to the 20 the Indian skipper has amassed till date.
Moreover, what speaks volumes of his character is his ability to return to the Test arena after a 16-month hiatus due to Sandpapergate, brave the chants of a hostile English crowd and score back-to-back tons to take his side to an improbable victory.
Smith still has a long way to go, a lot of attacks to tame, and a lot more battles to win. However, at the age of 30, Smith is already well on his way to achieving batting immortality in the longest format of the game.
Also read – Ashes Lowest total defended