There’s usually a hush of silence in the stadium when Australia is 2 down. All eyes are pointed at the stairs near the dressing room. No matter superiority of the fielding side in the game, there are scenes of agony in the field and the captain instructing his bowler on the daunting task ahead.
The boundary rope is equipped with more than a dozen gloves indicating an intent to bat the entire day. These scenes perfectly fit the cliche of Sir Don Bradman. But over the years, a phenomenon is in his way to be the clone of mighty Don. The look, much like a predator was always waiting to bat, the task which he likes the most.
There’s a charming sense of adventurism with a touch of fidgety when Steven Peter Devereux Smith enters the crease. Commentators all of a sudden start a debate on the ways to dismiss the batting wizard.
But, Smith was less bothered by the hype outside, which he terms as “white noise”. He has his own ways to announce his arrival — “Left pad, right pad, box, few taps behind the foot and irking the bowlers for fun.”
For all the hubbub by the people around, he is calm, like a sage who’s much aware of his task. There are features which defined him, much suited only to him and the quirky genius had it all.
Extracting the best under Pressure
There were many celebrated batsmen in the history of the longer format. Some with audacious strokeplay who turns out to be a nightmare for bowlers. Whereas some with their old school blockathons which left the bowlers exasperated. In this era of power hitters, we will seldom find the latter.
The shoddy nature of going after the bowlers made modern-day batsmen a little less reliable. But Steve Smith, on the other hand, is the best player under crisis. Not that he’s unmoved. The secret lies in his thinking. He never thinks too much about the game. He only mind to do his job i.e. to bail his team out of trouble.
Even after the controversial DRS incident in Bangalore, he was absolutely unfazed. He scored unbeaten 178 in the very next game. Controversies hamper the rhythm for others. But surprisingly for Smith, it works the other way around.
There were funky dresses, sandpapers, face masks mocking smith who cried in telly. Barmy Army was going bonkers at the recently concluded Ashes opener. The adrenaline rush had taken off warner and Bancroft (his fellow victims in the ball-tampering saga). Then, Smith arrived at the crease with almost no intent to involve in the heat. He batted and batted and thus guided the team which is sinking at 122/8, to the safest of shores.
Smith won the situation as he usually does. Steve Waugh nodded in admiration after Smith’s hundred in the second innings of the same match. It was a moment where he saw an unprecedented legend in years to come.
Viable Decision Making
The arrival of Steve Smith to the international stage is no way prodigious. Much contrast to what he has been today. He was just one of the 12 or 13 spinners selected by Cricket Australia after the retirement of legendary Warne.
It took a couple of “tough decisions” for Smith to make it there. The initial one was regarding his academics. He decided to drop out of high school to focus on cricket. It hasn’t ended there. His career-defining decision was yet to come.
As his mother Gillian Smith was of England origin, Smith during his county days got an offer to play for England for huge bucks that an 18-year-old cannot refuse. But Smith denied the offer to abide by his ambition to play for New South Wales and thus for Australia.
There’s always something revolving around smithy, other than cricket in all his playing days. He was termed as captain grumpy for his contentious acts on and off the field.
During a big bash league match, a senior player was constantly irking Smith by not paying attention to the young rookie skipper. That’s when Smith shouted at him saying “I am the captain and you have to obey my order. GO STAND THERE!!!”
There are moments (in fact controversies) that refuse to spare Smith. Be it with the open statement on Glenn Maxwell’s training or questioning Starc’s sportsmanship on his wild throw to New Zealand batsman Mark Craig.
He might be crabby, he was at the wrong end for some issues. But the greatest thing is that he never, even once in his career, let them derail his performance.
His obsession with batting is peerless. He often says “I don’t like watching cricket much, I would always like to be in the middle, helping my mates”. Justin langer, the present coach of Australia stated – “Smudge shadow bats at the corridor, in the hotel room, in his bathroom. He bats and bats everywhere”.
It’s tough to read inside Smith. His thoughts were eccentric, much similar to his batting.
It’s an event when Smith bats. His blocks, funky leaves, out of the book shots, everything depicts the truest entertainer, the modern era cricket fans ever witnessed.