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AUS vs IND: The Unconventional Genius of Steve Smith

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The bat does not point towards first slip but gully! No problem, but when it comes down, it comes straight. He is not side-on! Yes, he is front-on. His legs are not parallel, the distance between legs is so less! So be it, he has the back and across movement to be in the line with the ball. Alright. Who wears football socks and ties shoelaces to the socks! He does. Who is he? Steve Smith from Australia.

 

The same Smith has been providing enough content to officially record unorthodox batting. If there exists no manual for it, it is time now. His quirky style of batting and scoring ability only sprouts one question in mind: how to get him out?

The question may have got a temporary answer when he departed – on 105 – edging a slower delivery pitched outside off stick on Sunday. But he will come again.

Before the start of the three-match Dettol One Day International series against India, Steve Smith had said, “I have found my hands which I am extremely excited about.” He was right as he backed it up with back to back centuries of high quality at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

In the second ODI, the 31-year-old arrived at the fall of David Warner and got going. He beautifully found gaps and beat fielders comfortably with his supple wrists. Later in the innings, he shuffled a lot and executed the scoops. How does he manage to balance so well? Is it because he uses New Balance bats?

To narrate a few beautiful strokes, to a wide slower ball offered by Jasprit Bumrah, Smith – it looked like he was eyeing cover region – waited, tilted the blade and beat the sweeper cover for four; to another slower one, he placed it fine to beat the short third man or to a fourth stump good length ball, he brought his wrists in play to guide it to square leg for four. He was on song.

Smith attacked the lead spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and unsettled the part-timer Mayank Agarwal. India bowled seven bowlers, yet none could break his rhythm.

On many occasions, upon hitting the ball to the fielder, Steve Smith would lament as if he had missed a ton. He brought his ton up by pushing a flighted one from Chahal to long-on – a 62 ball hundred, his 11th ODI ton, which included 14 boundaries and 2 sixes – it was followed by the routine waving of bat all around and kiss on the helmet badge. He did not just rub salts in the wounds of the opponents with his batting, he made sure the series was won.

Steve Smith in action

Steve Smith, after being adjudged as the Player of the match, said, “I tried to whack the ball a bit too hard in the IPL, now I have started to hit the ball with a bit more finesse which is probably working better for me. I’m just playing nice cricketing shots.”

Isn’t he?

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A leggie who aspires to be a cricket journalist.