SPORTS

Steven Smith — Cricket Australia’s Run Machine

Photo credit: NAPARAZZI

The captain of the Australian cricket team Steven Smith has developed into not only one of the best modern-day batsmen but one of the best in the history of test cricket.

He has amassed some mind-boggling numbers in his relatively short test career, and if he continues in the same vein, he will surely own most if not all the Australian batting records and by extension test cricketing batting records. We will look at his meteoric rise and make a few predictions about what he might achieve in the future.

Steven Smith started his career in 2010 as a spin allrounder, who could bat a bit and was drafted in the Australian test team and was highly regarded by spin great Shane Warne to be a successful spinner at the test level.

Between 2010 and 2011, he played 5 test matches, scoring 259 runs at 28.7 and taking four wickets at over 50 apiece. This underwhelming performance resulted in Smith losing his place in the Australian team and went back to the drawing board to work on his game.

He had always considered himself a stronger batsman than bowler and wanted to prove himself in that regard and make the Australian team as a batsman.

Smith went on a two-year hiatus from test cricket, where he developed his technique, becoming tighter and more secure to both space and spin bowling and formed a strong mental resolve to concentrate and bat for long periods of time.

It was the development of these critical skills in his time away from test cricket that resulted in him becoming a force to be reckoned with when he returned to test cricket in 2013.

When Smith returned to test cricket in 2013, the Australian cricket team was in transition and needed a batting star to replace Michael Clarke who was nearing the end of his career.

Smith played 11 test matches for the year and made 721 runs at 37. 42, including his first two test centuries. This was a promising start, but no one predicted the astounding performance that was to come in 2014.

Smith truly established himself as a star in 2014 by scoring 1146 in 9 test matches at an astonishing average of 81.85 including five centuries; the next Australian batting star was born!

He has not eased up since and churned out 1474 runs at 73.70, including six hundreds in 2015. In 2016, he made 1079 runs at over 71, scoring four centuries and so far in 2017 he has scored 842 runs at 64.76, with four centuries.

So, between 2013 and 2017, Smith has scored 5262 in 52 test matches at an average of 64.96, with 21 hundreds in only 95 innings, no other batsman has scored so many runs or centuries over the 5-year period! His consistency is also unrivaled – he has made 50 or more in 43% of his innings over this 5-year period.

So, you might be asking, what does the future hold for Steve Smith? What can he achieve in his career? Smith has not reached the peak of his batting just yet, so we anticipate that he will continue to get better and might get to batting heights not seen in modern cricket.

If he plays the game for another eight years and makes 1000 runs annually, he will end up with over 13,000 runs in his test career, and that would slot him in the top echelon of test batting history.

He might make more or fewer runs, but regardless of what happens in the future, what he has achieved so far in cricket will give him a place in the annals of cricket history.

Fans will continue to enjoy his batting and look forward to what the unflappable Steve Smith will achieve over the course of his career.

Readers Bureau, Contributor

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