Steve Smith, Ricky Ponting
Steve Smith (Image Credits: Twitter)

Last Update on: February 28th, 2023 at 02:25 pm

Former Indian cricketer and coach of the Indian national team, Ravi Shastri, believes that Steve Smith is a readymade replacement for the Australian cricket team’s captaincy. Shastri has observed that Smith’s batting performance tends to improve when he is the captain.

The responsibility of leading the side brings out a different mindset in him, which results in better concentration levels and an outstanding batting average. Steve Smith’s familiarity with Indian conditions, having captained in India before and played in the Indian Premier League, makes him a valuable asset to the Australian team.

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Steve Smith Thrives With Extra Workload: Ravi Shastri

“Australia do have a readymade replacement at the top in Steve Smith. And I think that will work for them. Firstly, whenever I have seen Smith captain the side, he’s been a different batter, a better batter. The responsibility of captaincy seems to bring that different kind of mindset.

His concentration levels seem far higher, and you just have to look at his batting average as captain. It is outstanding. He is one of those players who thrives on the extra workload of leading the side,” Shastri wrote in his column for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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Shastri also acknowledges that India should be wary of Steve Smith, who has the potential to score big in the series. Although Smith struggled against Ravichandran Ashwin in Delhi, he is a player of great pedigree who can make slight adjustments to his technique and come back strongly.

“India will be aware that someone like Smith somewhere down the line in this series will come good. He showed glimpses in Nagpur, but then Ravichandran Ashwin got the better of him twice in Delhi. However, a player of his pedigree would have realised that he can correct what hasn’t worked for him so far. And there are few better than him to make that slight correction count with a big score,” the former India Coach said.

Moreover, Steve Smith’s experience as a captain gives him an advantage over Pat Cummins, who lacks experience in leading a team in Indian conditions. Shastri has noticed that Cummins’ inexperience as a captain has sometimes been evident in the series, and it has hurt Australia. Smith, on the other hand, has a better understanding of the tempo of cricket in India.

“There’s also the added element of how Smith will lead Australia here. He’s got a great understanding of Indian conditions, having led here before and also all the years he’s spent playing and captaining in the IPL. He understands the tempo of cricket in India better than what Cummins would have. There have been times in this series where the inexperience of Cummins as captain in these conditions came through rather evidently. And it has hurt Australia,” Shastri added.

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