Steve Smith isn’t losing sleep over the short-ball ploy teams have been targeting him with and instead feels it could actually work in Australia’s favour.
India’s pace attack, which boasts of a bowling strike-rate of 42.6 since 2018, the best among all teams in Tests, might pose a major threat but Smith isn’t too worried if they decide to bang the ball in at him.
Smith was targeted by the short ball in the recent past by England and New Zealand. Jofra Archer and Neil Wagner used this successfully against him with the latter dismissing him four times with the short ball last summer. He reserved praise for Wagner but isn’t sure others can replicate what he did.
"It's no dramas for me. I just play the game and sum up the conditions, how they're trying to get me out and being able to counter that. I mean, a few different oppositions have tried it and they've certainly found it more difficult to [execute it] the way Wagner did. He's got an amazing skill set where his speeds go up and down, everything is between your ribs and your head,” Smith said.
Smith is the No.1 batsman on the MRF ICC Men's Test Batting rankings after a stellar 2019. He did have a reasonably good series against New Zealand despite Wagner’s success against him, averaging 42.80. Although the strike-rate was his lowest in any Test series, Smith wore the bowlers down and he believes that a similar approach works to Australia’s advantage.
"If teams are trying to get me out like that it's probably a big benefit for the team because it takes a lot out of people's bodies if you continually bowl short. I've faced a lot of short bowling in my life and I haven't had too many stresses with it. I suppose we'll just wait and see."
Smith wasn’t part of the last series between these two teams in Australia. The Test series begins with the day/night Test in Adelaide from December 17. India are at the top of the ICC World Test Championship points table with 360 points. Australia are right behind them with 296 points.
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