Steve Smith will play his first Test in Australia in more than a year and is expected to continue his rich vein of form in the home summer. Pakistan need to decode the solution to dismiss the number one Test batsman cheaply if they are to emerge victorious down under. And their head coach Misbah-Ul-Haq may have found a way to trouble the run-machine.
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The 30-year old made his return to Test cricket in the Ashes 2019 in England and reigned supreme, bagging the award for the player of the series. Steve Smith finished the Ashes series with 774 runs at an average of 110.25 across four Tests. In his last series in Australia in 2016-17 against Pakistan, the right-hander emerged as the top-run scorer in three Tests. The former Pakistan captain addressed the issue of keeping him silent by saying that Pakistan bowlers need to pitch the ball consistently on the top of the off-stump.
Misbah reveals plan to stop Steve Smith
Misbah believes that as far as any top batsman in the world is concerned, they have their blindspots which needs to be attacked constantly. The 45-year old is confident that their bowlers are executing their plans well for now. Additionally, he said that they need to build the pressure by consistently maintaining the discipline all throughout. Misbah-ul-Haq is hopeful that the young crop of bowlers will be able to put pressure on all the Australian batsmen.
“As far as Steve Smith goes, there’s a blind spot for every top batsman in the world; as a bowler you’re always interested in pitching the ball there. It’s important that we bowl with consistency there. Our bowlers are executing the plans very well right now, and hopefully we’ll be able to build that kind of pressure, and stay disciplined especially early in the innings.
No matter how good a batsman is batting, it’s about consistency and bowling the maximum balls in those areas that build pressure and the batsman respects you, and you force him to make a mistake.” he said as quoted by ESPN Cricinfo.
Furthermore, Misbah-ul-Haq discloses that all the batters that the six to eight-meter spot on the top of the off-stump is the spot where every batsman is forced to defend the ball. However, consistently pitching the ball in the right areas will be decisive in creating the chances and getting any breakthrough. While the young crop of bowlers have made quick strides in the practice games, they will be facing a vastly different Australian side in the Test series.
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“All the batsmen you talk to, any batsman in the world, that’s the area where you have to defend a ball, and that is a six to the eight-metre spot where you have to play the top of off stump. That’s the area from where if it’s happening then that creates a great chance. Even if it’s not happening, you have fewer chances to do anything with the ball.
So it’s about consistency, and top players in the world, if you miss those areas, that special length, and line, then they are good enough to just cash in on that. So you have to be very, very disciplined, just keep the ball there, and if it’s happening you are already in the game.” he added further.