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Steve Smith named ICC Men’s Test Player of the Decade

ICC Awards of the Decade

Australia’s Steve Smith has been named the ICC Men’s Test Player of the Decade, having established himself as one of the best Test batsmen since Don Bradman.

The numbers
69 Tests, 7040 runs, average 65.79, 26 centuries*
*Stats from January 1, 2011, to October 7, 2020, the period taken into consideration for the ICC awards
Men’s Test Player of the Decade award nominees:
•    James Anderson (England)
•    Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka)
•    Virat Kohli (India)
•    Joe Root (England)
•    Yasir Shah (Pakistan)
•    Steve Smith (Australia)
•    Kane Williamson (New Zealand)

Australia’s Steve Smith has been named the ICC Men’s Test Player of the Decade, having established himself as one of the best Test batsmen since Don Bradman.

Rewind to July 2010. A blond, baby-faced, 21-year-old debuts for Australia … and bats at No. 8 in his first innings, and gets bumped down to No. 9 in the second. Steve Smith began life in a baggy green as Australia’s next big legspin hope. Things didn’t quite go to plan then. But Australia won’t be complaining. 
After a spell out of the team – he didn’t cut it as a legspinner – Smith only got his chance in the XI because a few of his teammates infamously forgot to do their homework on the 2013 tour of India, and he made an impact straightaway, scoring 92 from No. 5 in his first Test innings in over two years. Five months later, he was depositing the part-time medium pace of Jonathan Trott down the ground to move from 94 to a maiden Test hundred. 

Among the many highs that followed in Smith’s Test career – in spite of an endlessly fidgety between-balls routine and a batting technique that probably defies many a coaching manual out there – was the home series against India in 2014, when he hit 162 not out, 133, 192 and 117 in consecutive matches. 

By the time he was named Australia’s Test captain in 2015, taking over from Michael Clarke, he was the No. 1 ranked Test batsman in the world. He has remained close to the summit ever since. 

Greatest hits 
Perhaps the finest series of his career was so far was the 2019 Ashes, when he played a starring role in Australia retaining the urn in England. Smith piled up 774 in seven Test innings, having singlehandedly scored 35.5% of Australia’s runs in the five-match series despite having missed one Test due to a concussion. 
In 143 years of Test cricket, only Don Bradman has at any point of his career accumulated higher rating points than Smith’s 947 points, a peak that he hit during Australia’s home Ashes series in 2017. Bradman had touched a record 961 points in 1948.  
What they said
Former Australia captain Steve Waugh to Channel 9 during Smith’s incredible 2019 Ashes run.
"I've never seen anything like him… He knows exactly what he's trying to do, exactly what the opposition are trying to do, how they are trying to get him out. He seems to have answer for everything… He analyses every ball and it's like a computer, he spits out the answer."

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