Mark Taylor wants former world No.1 Test batter to replace Steve Smith as opener

Updated - 03 Mar 2024, 09:58 PM

Mark Taylor, Steve Smith
Mark Taylor, Steve Smith [PC: X/Twitter]

Former Australia National Cricket Team captain Mark Taylor has suggested the name of a former world No.1 batter in the ICC Test rankings to replace Steve Smith at the top of the order in the Australian Test team.

Smith started opening the innings for Australia in Test cricket after the retirement of the veteran batter David Warner following the Pakistan Test series. The modern-day batting great Smith has not been able to deliver a great performance as an opener and many have called for him to get back to his middle-order position.

Since he started opening, Steve Smith has registered scores of 12, 11*, 6, 91*, 31 and 0. Overall, he has scored 151 runs in 6 innings at a below-par average of 37.75, including just one 50-plus score, which also came in a losing cause.

In an interaction with Wide World of Sports, Mark Taylor lavished praise on Smith for going up the order to make place for Cameron Green in the middle order. He said:

“I like the fact Steve Smith put his hand up and said ‘I want to be the opener, I’m going to be the one to move up the order because we want to get Cameron Green in the side’ and that’s been a great call really to get Cameron Green in because he made 174 not out in this Test match.”

I would’ve liked to have seen Labuschagne move up to open the batting because… – Mark Taylor

After praising Smith, the former Australia star stated that he would have liked seeing Marnus Labuschagne take the initiative of opening the innings after David Warner’s retirement. He asserted:

“I would’ve liked to have seen Labuschagne move up to open the batting because Steve Smith has been our best player and is our best player for the last decade so I would’ve liked to have seen Steve stay where he was and Marnus to move up but Marnus was less keen.”

“Smith said he’d do it and moved up, and it’s a good move for the team and I think eventually it’ll be a good move for Australia. Although our lower to middle order needs to do a little bit of work.”

Notably, Marnus Labuschagne, who was once the No.1 ranked batsman in the ICC Test rankings, has been going through a lean patch for an extended period of time. Labuschagne has been given great backing from the selection committee but he hasn’t been able to deliver goods with his last Test century coming way back in July 2023.

Meanwhile, Mark Taylor was unsure of Steve Smith leaving the opening spot and going back to his original position because it would mean that he failed a challenge.

“I think Smithy is looking for a new challenge. He’s got almost 10,000 Test match runs and I’ve just thought over the last year, 18 months, he hasn’t looked quite at his best. I’m not sure he’ll want to move back down because it’ll be admitting defeat that it hasn’t worked and don’t forget in the last Test match at the Gabba he made 91 in the last innings,” he said.

Australia National Cricket Team are currently involved in a two-match Test series against the New Zealand National Cricket Team. They earned a comprehensive victory in the first Test by 172 runs at the Basin Reserve, Wellington. Cameron Green emerged as the hero for Australia in the match as he smashed a stupendous 174* runs in the first innings, followed it up with 34 runs in the second innings, and also bagged a wicket in the match.

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Australia National Cricket Team Mark Taylor Marnus Labuschange New Zealand national cricket team NZ vs AUS 2024 Steve Smith