Former Australian skipper Kim Hughes believes that Steve Smith's time away from family has taken a mental toll on the latter. This, according to Hughes, is being reflected in Smith's batting in the ongoing Test series.
Steve Smith has looked in all sorts against the Indians. After 4 innings, the 31-year-old is yet to record a double-digit score in the series. He has been dismissed by Ravichandran Ashwin twice and once by Jasprit Bumrah.
In an interaction with Times of India, Hughes exuded confidence that Steve Smith will bounce back if he is able to spend some more time on the pitch.
“Look, Smith is a world-class player but hasn’t looked like it in the Test series. He has been away from his wife Dani for over four-and-a-half months due to cricket and the quarantine restrictions. Smith hasn’t been in a good space --- away from his partner. I expect him to do well in Sydney. Smith just needs to spend some time in the middle and the runs will come automatically,” said Hughes.
Steve Smith's poor form has allowed India to level the series
Steve Smith had the highest average for an Australian batsman in 2019, and has also been the country's most dependable and consistent batsman in Test cricket over the last few years. Ergo, the dip in his form has concurred with the whole Australian batting lineup's poor returns as well.
The team is yet to make a score above 200 in the ongoing series, while their opponents have done it twice. Even after thumping India by 8 wickets in Adelaide, the Aussies couldn't manage to keep their foot on the gas in Melbourne. Hughes believes Tim Paine's decision at the toss cost them badly.
“We missed a golden opportunity to go 2-0 up in the series. India would have been fragile after their collapse in Adelaide and with our three pacers on that Melbourne wicket, things would have been difficult for them. I was extremely surprised when we elected to bat first,” Hughes said.
With the series level at 1-1, the remaining two matches will depend immensely on how Steve Smith counters the Indian bowlers. The next Test will commence on January 7th in Sydney.Published 01 Jan 2021, 18:03 IST