Dubai: Steve Smith, Australian cricket’s prodigal son, continues to confound both his fans and critics alike with his unorthodox - yet effective - batting technique. It’s not for nothing that he boasts of the best average in Test cricket at an awe-inspiring 62.84 and much higher than two of his so-called rivals for the mantle of ‘best batsman’ in Virat Kohli (53.62) and Joe Root (48.40).
Speaking to New Zealand spinner Ish Sodhi in a podcast by IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals - whom he is scheduled to captain should the Indian Premier League happen this year - Smith reveals there is a method behind his madness.
Opening up about his stance and technique, Smith said: “It depends on who’s bowling, how is the wicket playing, how I gonna score and stuff like that or how people are trying to get me out, probably that determines how open I am or otherwise how closed I am.
“But my general stance where my back foot is going to almost off stump, or may be even outside at stages, I know that anything outside my eyeline isn’t hitting the stumps,” he said.
“For me, you shouldn’t get out if the ball is not hitting the stumps, so that is just a trick from me when I first started doing it, just limiting the ways I get out,” he said.
The former Australia skipper also spoke about how taking an off-stump guard helps him leave the ball around the fourth and fifth stump, often also called the corridors of uncertainty.
“Sometimes, I get trapped in front but I’m okay with that at stages, knowing that if it is outside my eyeline, I don’t need to try and play the ball, I can just leave that,” he said.
Having completed a two-year captaincy ban for his role in the Sandpaper Gate fiasco, Smith is now eligible to lead the side, but he is not an automatic choice if Cricket Australia decides to remove current Test skipper Tim Paine - who alongwith head coach Justin Langer - has done a remarkable job in winning The Ashes last year and giving a makeover to the team’s profile.
“We’ve got a number of guys to choose from who can put their hand up. There’s Steve Smith, who’s done it before, or the people who are developing underneath like a Travis Head or an Alex Carey - Marnus Labuschagne and Pat Cummins are other ones,’’ Paine said.
“We’re starting to build some real depth so that when my time’s up, we’ve got a number of options,” he told the media.