Former England captain Michael Vaughan believes Steve Smith should be included in Australia's playing XI. Vaughan believes every T20 side must have a batter capable of maneuvering the gaps and manipulating the field instead of playing slam-bang cricket.
Smith, part of Australia's 2022 T20 World Cup squad, hasn't played the first two games of the tournament due to his patchy form leading up to the competition.
Speaking to Fox Sports, Vaughan compared Smith to England's Dawid Malan and said he can score well by manipulating the field. However, the Englishman agreed that Smith may take time to get going.
"I do think there is a place in the team for a player like Steve Smith. You only have to look at Malan for England, he's a timer of the ball, hits it in the gaps, knows where his boundary options are and I think if you gave Steve Smith 50 balls, he'd give you an 80. But he might take you 20 balls to get going," the former England skipper opined.
Smith, who has a strike rate of 125.34 in T20Is, has managed only four fifties in 62 appearances. With the likes of Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, and Tim David having better strike rates, the 33-year-old has found himself on the bench.
"I was shocked to see him not there" - Michael Vaughan on Steve Smith
The 47-year-old admitted to having experienced a shock seeing Smith excluded from Australia's XI, given his cricketing brain. He added:
"I don’t know how much of an impact he has as a leader, but clearly he’s a great player and I was shocked to see him not in there.
"I just think you need skilful players, not just powerful players. You also need manipulators of situations.
"I think Smith can play the situation and manoeuvre the ball 360 in his own different way. He’s also got a good cricket brain. It is a shock.”
Australia and England will face off in a must-win clash for both in Melbourne on Friday. Both sides have won and lost one match each in the tournament so far.