Steven Smith's rich vein of form reminds me of Ricky Ponting: Shane Watson
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has heaped lavish praise on middle-order batsman Steven Smith, comparing his rich vein of form with the bat with former national captain Ricky Ponting. The 25-year-old has been in sensational form with the willow in hand, having amassed 1146 runs in 9 Tests in 2014 at an average of 81.85. His form in coloured clothing was also equally good last year, scoring 541 runs in 12 ODIs at an average of 49.18.
"I've been very lucky through my career to be able to play with some of the great players that have played for Australia. Ricky Ponting is someone who I idolised and was able to see up close how he dominated world cricket for such a long period of time,” Watson said.
"To see Steve Smith and what he's doing in this point of time is very much along the lines of what Ricky Ponting was doing when he was dominating. It's like they're playing another game. No matter the quality of bowler or who is bowling, they never seem fazed. They're able to take on whoever is bowling and really is a privilege to be able to see someone who is at their absolute peak.
"It really has been a privilege to see the way he's been batting and playing and also holding himself as well," he added.
The 33-year-old added that knowing Smith well, he had no doubt that this amazing run with the bat was going to continue and marked him out as a key member of the batting line-up leading into the World Cup.
“I know Steve the way he is the way he works the way he holds himself, this is going to continue for a long period of time as well. I'm sure it will continue through the World Cup as well and he's going to be one of the crucial men in our batting order," the all-rounder said.
Smith understands the game very well: Watson
Following the injury to Michael Clarke, Smith was appointed captain of the Australian side for the final three Tests against India. Watson said that the right-hander has a very sharp mind and added that even when Clarke was leading the side, he would call upon him for a suggestion or two.
"Even up until he got given the captaincy, he was always someone Michael called on. For me I was lucky to have him in and around my IPL franchise as well, so somebody you know you can call on especially in pressure situations you know he's going to give you really good feedback, so he's really impressive,” he said.
“Everyone knows what's expected from him as well, but he's also let his bat do the talking as well out there. He reads the game incredibly well for a young man. He's been born with this cricket intuition as well so in situations he knows where to go to whether it's with the bat but also as a leader in the field.
"He's an impressive leader, pretty chilled, pretty relaxed.”
Watson was speaking at the announcement of a campaign for the Motor-Neurone Disease Foundation where in an extremely generous gesture, he declared that he will donate $200 for every four and $300 for every six and every wicket that he picks up at the upcoming World Cup on home soil.