posted on 2019-06-08 23:51:01
posted by Sahil Jain
There is something about Steve Smith and the World Cup. The former Australian skipper just loves the big stage. He walks out every time and simply churns out runs for fun. His last seven innings at the World Cup read – 95, 72, 65, 105, 56 not out, 18 and 73 (latest). In fact, in the 2015 World Cup, he scored a fifty or more in every knockout game, including a scintillating hundred in the semi-final.
Smith has announced himself in this World Cup in style. He failed in the first game before grinding out a tough 73 against West Indies when all the other top-order batsmen fell away like nine pins. But that’s just how Smith is. He’s made a wonderful comeback after his 12-month ban.
He may have played just two international games (both in this World Cup) since his return but in almost every practice game that Australia played, he scored runs. He’s in sublime form and next up, Australia have a crucial clash against India.
They don’t have to look beyond Smith for this clash. The 30-year-old simply loves batting against India. He’s scored runs against the ‘Men in Blue’ in every format and there was a point that India were just sick of him. In Test cricket, Smith’s numbers against India are phenomenal. However, they are not too far behind in ODI cricket as well.
The current Aussie No. 4 averages 50.75 in the 12 innings he’s batted against them. He has a strike-rate of 98.22 as well. Moreover, he has scored two hundreds and three fifties as well. His 105 in the 2015 World Cup semi-final was one of his best knocks against India which laid the platform for Australia’s win. He’s constantly churned out runs against India, be it home or away.
In fact, there have been only two instances of Smith getting out in single-digits against India in ODI cricket and both of those came in the five-match ODI series in 2017 in India.
However, Smith seems to have returned to his best. He has looked in fine form and will be looking to continue his love-affair against India. There will be a couple of challenges that will test him. The biggest one being the wrist-spin threat and his ability to counter them. Smith is a naturally good player against spin but he will be tested against Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal who have been wreaking havoc all around the world.