Steve Smith reinvented his batting after 2019 Ashes

Steve Smith reinvented his batting after 2019 Ashes

For Smith, the sweet spot of his career was the summer of 2014-15, when he dominated India and was the linchpin of Australia’s ODI World Cup victory on home soil. Back then, he was known to trust “nobody knows how to get me out”, and batted like it.

But as of 2019, it took until a session in Adelaide – just before Australia were to be eliminated from the Twenty20 World Cup – for all the components of feet, hands and weight transfer to be synchronised. Smith’s first attempt to demonstrate the changes was derailed by COVID-19, which he brought into the game against Afghanistan.

“I’ve been looking at footage for as long as you wouldn’t believe, just from innings mainly in 2015,” he said. “I think that was when I batted my best in the India series at home and throughout that World Cup, and that’s my blueprint that I always go back to to try and figure out what I’m doing there.

“I finally got there. I was in the nets. I think I might have been in Adelaide just before the T20 match against Afghanistan. I felt like I found something and then I got COVID.

“I played that game with COVID and I didn’t really get a chance to get in the middle to kind of apply it. And then the next game I played was against England and that game I think, I got 80 not out.

“And yeah, it was just the first time I put it all into practice in the middle and it just clicked for me. We are always looking for those things to make you better. Luckily I finally came across it and hopefully it works well for me.”

Smith narrowed things down to a single moment, a single shot – a well-publicised headline drive in Adelaide, where he uttered the words “I’m back, baby”. He certainly was – across 16 innings in all formats, since then Smith has smashed 1027 runs at 85.58 with four hundreds.

Steve Smith during the Adelaide innings where his game clicked into place.Credit:Getty

“It was probably that ball I hit through the covers, just my weight transfer through the ball,” he said. “The way my hands went through it and I felt it a little bit in the nets, but I haven’t implemented it in the game yet.

“Once I hit that shot, I was kind of like, I just found something clicked. That’s the rhythm I was looking for and yes, I made it pretty clear, I think right away. So yeah, a bold statement, but it felt like, you know, I nailed it.”

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This is all very useful as far as Australia in 2023 is concerned. Smith heads to India and then England with full confidence in his game and ability to stay a step or two ahead of bowlers, be they spinners on spin tracks or fast men. on seams.

“I think some subcontinent wickets suit the style of play I have,” Smith said of India. “I really enjoy playing on those turns there, so much fun and there’s always something going on.

“But you know, if they’re not the spinning ones and they’re a little bit flatter there, the ones where you can really count and you have to make big, big scores. I think that’s definitely one thing I’ll tell the boys when we get there.

“That’s one of my experiences that I’ve had, and you can only play according to the surface that’s in front of you.”

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