Opinion: How Australia can make do without Steve Smith at the World Cup
Australia has regained some long lost form, finding their way to an eight-game winning streak. Thus, the question arises – if it ain’t broken why would you want to fix it?
Well, Warner would walk into the side given his white-ball form. and the fact that he is perhaps seeing the cricket ball like a football at the moment. You can’t exactly say the same for Smith.
Warner and Aaron Finch occupy the opening slots. Warner has set IPL 2019 ablaze with the bat in hand, while Finch seems to be in the form of his life, scoring 451 runs over 5 matches at a staggering average of 112.75 against Pakistan in the UAE.
Usman Khawaja, Australia's premium ODI batsman, as most Australian cricket pundits describe him, comes in at three. Shaun Marsh, who seems to find explicit form on the English Isles every time he decides to pay them a visit, finishes the top 4.
Then you have Glenn Maxwell, someone you can never ignore when it comes to picking a white-ball side.The Australian camp holds him in high regard, with Justin Langer comparing him to a certain Virat Kohli, which is no joke.
Marcus Stoinis, high on confidence after bagging the Aussie ODI Player of the Year, has to find a place in the eleven, for he is an impact player with both the bat and the ball in the death overs. Along with Ashton Turner, the man who grabbed limelight after his sublime innings against the Indians in the fourth ODI at Mohali, Stoinis is most likely to don the finisher’s role.
So, where would Smith fit in? What if he doesn't?
Also, keeping in mind the fact that the Sydney batter was on the verge of being dropped from the ODI squad before the 24th of March 2018, scoring a paltry 449 in 2017 and 45 over a span of 5 matches in ’18.
He has recently undergone an elbow surgery and is yet to be back at his 100%. He played decently at the Global T20 League in Canada, scoring 167 runs striking at 119.
His IPL season has not been the best and if you were to ask this writer, he shouldn’t even have played for the Rajasthan Royals ahead of Liam Livingstone. The latter can hit the ball as hard as anybody, and can chip in with some half decent leg-breaks in the middle overs. He would provide greater balance to the Royals, but that is an argument for another day.
Smith definitely walks into the Test side for this summer’s Ashes but his inclusion in the World Cup is a little less certain. The Australian team appears far more balanced without Smith than with him as of now. His exclusion, if the support staff is brave enough to do so, would not come as a shock, at least to me.Published 05 Apr 2019, 23:33 IST