Steve Smith may had an ordinary IPL 2020 as per his own standards but the Australia batting superstar says he’s found his batting rhythm during the net sessions he has had for the upcoming series against India.Also Read - Virender Sehwag Puts Rohit Sharma & KL Rahul's Spot Under Threat, Throws Two New Names In The Ring As Surprise Openers
Smith, who captains Rajasthan Royals in IPL, scored 311 runs in 14 matches including three half-centuries. Also Read - Virender Sehwag Sparks Debate Over Sourav Ganguly And Virat Kohli's Captaincy - Who Is Better?
He will be one of the key performers to look out for Australia in the upcoming limited overs series comprising three ODIs followed by as many T20Is before the four Test starting next month. Also Read - India's Predicted T20I Squad vs South Africa: All You Need To Know About Players In Contention For A Spot
“I was pretty disappointed with my batting throughout the IPL,” Smith said. “For my sort of standards, I wasn’t consistent enough. I did play a few innings here and there but not consistently.”
“I think in the last few days, people who know me well, said that I have found my hands and I am excited about it. So I plan to have a few more hits at the nets and get started in a few days time,” he added.
Smith, who has scored over 12,000 runs across formats, says it took him longer to get back into the groove having not batted for a almost four months during the coronavirus lockdown.
“It was about getting that feel in the way my hands come up. It’s hard to explain but it probably wasn’t quite being right till two days ago,” Smith said. “Then something clicked two days ago. It changes where you meet the ball. I had that big smile on my face while training the other day. It’s taken me a lot longer than usual. I didn’t bat for four months during COVID (lockdown) so don’t know if it took me a bit longer to get that rhythm back.”
Smith, who relies on picking gaps and building his innings at a steady pace, had to change his game for the IPL which doesn’t come natural to him.
“In IPL, I got caught up with trying to be a bit more powerful and that’s not my game. There are players in the world who can hit sixes at will and I am probably not one of those. It is about playing the cricketing shots and manipulating the gaps available. Probably, it (natural game) went away in the IPL from doing that. So now, I am keeping the thoughts clear that I will only hit the balls in my areas,” he explained.
Smith boasts of an envious record against India and he feels playing against top teams brings out the best in him.
“I don’t know. In a big series, I try and stand up and get the best out of myself. Ashes and India series are the two biggest and as an Australian cricketer, there is something inside me that comes out and I am not sure. I have always started the first Test well against India and that gives me a bit of rhythm throughout the rest of the series. It’s something to do with that,” the 31-year-old added.
There has been a lot of talk around how Smith finds it difficult to negotiate short-pitched delivery, an apparent weakness that New Zealand left-arm pacer Neil Wagner has exploited.
When asked how he plans to deal with the strategy should Indian bowlers employ that against him, Smith didn’t sound concenred.
“You are alluding to the short pitched bowling approach that others might take (watching Wagner’s bowling to him). That’s kind of flattering if people think that’s the only way to get me out as they have exhausted all other options,” he said.
“Neil Wagner got the better of me in the last Test series (vs NZ at home). He has a set of skills that not many people can do and he does it for a long period of time while changing the pace of deliveries,” he added.