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International Cricket

Steve Smith’s insatiable love for batting and his quest for balance

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Australian batsman Steve Smith confirmed coach Justin Langer’s claims that he has possesses an almost manic love for batting, but acknowledged the need to rein in his tendency to over-practice.

Smith has made a strong comeback to international cricket after being out of action for over twelve months. Returning to Australian colours in the game’s most celebrated event, the World Cup, Smith has notched up three fifties in five matches so far, after scoring a century in the warm-up game against hosts England in the build-up to the tournament.

Smith’s batting has risen to a level one couldn’t have imagined when he first came to international cricket as a leg-spin bowling all-rounder, back in 2010. In a career spanning nearly a decade now, Smith’s success has been a result of his sheer love for batting.

“I have always just loved batting and wanted to bat as much as I could in the nets,” Smith said.

So great is Smith’s enthusiasm for honing his craft that there have been mild concerns in the Australian camp that he can go a little overboard. The batsman acknowledges the need to take it easy at times.

“It’s one thing that’s, I guess, learned with experience and I’m reasonably experienced now and I’ve learned a bit over the last couple of years to sometimes just take the foot off the pedal in the nets and save myself up a little bit,” he said.

Smith, who is charting his comeback after a 12-month suspension over his involvement in the infamous ball-tampering scandal in Newlands last year, hasn’t had it easy with fans in England. He was even booed by a section of Indian fans during the match at the Oval on June 9. Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who was at the batting crease at that point, urged the fans to stop heckling Smith, and gestured them to applaud the Australian cricketer. Smith was all praise for Kohli’s gesture.

“Yeah, it was a lovely gesture,” Smith said. “It doesn’t really bother me what the crowd do to be perfectly honest, I’m just sort of blocking it all out but it was a lovely gesture from Virat, that’s for sure.”

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