He may have pulled off superhuman feats during the 2019 Ashes series in England, but Steve Smith found out he was human after all, towards the end of the gruelling, month-and-a-half-long tour of England.
Speaking to cricket.com.au, Australia’s No.4 revealed that his body was on the verge of a shutdown, a consequence of the endless hours Smith spent at the crease, in racking up a Bradmanesque 774 runs at an average of 110.57. In all, Smith spent 1943 minutes at the crease, or, in other words, over 32 hours. Roughly translated, it means he spent an average of 4.6 hours at the crease each time he walked out to bat.
"It was probably a bit of everything: mental, emotional, physical," Smith said. "Towards the last Test match, it got to day two and my mind was saying keep going, but my body had shut down and wouldn't let me do anything. I was a little bit sick after that."
Now, Smith has had a few weeks off and is raring to go again, for his state side New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield. Smith will use the domestic first-class competition as preparation for the home Tests against Pakistan and New Zealand, starting late next month.
"I've had a good couple of weeks just to lay low. I just got back into things over the past week. I've had three hits now. That will be enough to be ready to go for this first Shield game."
"Towards the last Test match, it got to day two and my mind was saying keep going, but my body had shut down and wouldn't let me do anything. I was a little bit sick after that."
Though back in the Test fray following the conclusion of his year-long ban for ball-tampering, Smith can’t yet take up captaincy duties, with his ban from holding official leadership positions within the national side running till March next year.
That, however, doesn’t mean Smith has stopped being a leader. "I'm not even thinking about that [captaincy] at the moment," he said. "I was pretty chilled out the whole time [in England]. I'm obviously pretty intense when I am out there batting, but I help out wherever I can.
"I don't want to sit back and not say something if I think it might help us. We will cross that bridge later if it comes. At the moment, I am comfortable and Tim [Paine, the incumbent] is doing a great job."
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