Australia's Steve Smith
Steve Smith revelled with the bat in the first opportunity as a stand-in captain for Australia. Image Credit: Reuters file

Steve Smith’s career has some incredible twists and turns. He started as a leg spinner while making his debut against Pakistan and then becoming Australia’s main batsman after Sir Donald Bradman to have an astonishing average of above 62 in Test match cricket - before his career took a drastic turn when he was not only stripped of his captaincy but banned for one year in 2018 for the Newlands ball-tampering scandal.

He got to play Test cricket again for Australia after a gap of 17 months in the Ashes against England and ranked up 774 runs in the four Test matches he played - scoring three hundreds, one double hundred and three fifties at an average of 110. After his return from the ban, he has played 15 Tests and scored more than 1500 runs to keep his average above 61 and maintain his Brandmansque style of batting in the highest form of cricket.

He was eligible to captain Australia again in March last year, but Cricket Australia continued with Tim Paine and then Pat Cummins for the Ashes. On the eve of the second Test match, Pat Cummins was ruled out because he had come in contact with someone in a restaurant who had tested positive, Smith got the chance to captain Australia again which he loved most and at Adelaide, he played a captain’s knock of 93 to put Australia on top.

He was made vice-captain in the series to assist Cummins, but destiny had something else in store and Smith got a chance to do what he was stripped off because of the ‘Sandpapergate’ in South Africa. He had previously captained Australia in 34 Test matches - winning 18, losing 10 and had an average of 70-plus as captain second to Bradman. Time will tell whether he would again get the chance to captain Australia but there is no doubt that he leads from the front with the bat when he captains Australia and would always regret his mistake he made in South Africa.

- Cricket enthusiast Anis Sajan is the Vice-Chairman of Danube Group