Steve Smith is back in form. He proved his ODI worth yet again with a spectacular century against New Zealand very recently. His T20 spot though continues to remain a question. Early in his career, Steve Smith was a handy T20 player. His unique stroke-play and talent kept him in the side. His numbers may not be great though, but he is a proven performer, especially after some his exploits in franchise cricket.
Up until his ban, Steve Smith held on to the number three spot and had a set role as the anchor. After his ban and with the rise of Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith moved into the fix-it role. His job was to hold the innings in case of a collapse, making it easier for the team’s range of finishers in the back end of the innings. He played the role of a floater, until recently when Steve Smith was given the license to go out and be more aggressive. While Steve Smith has the strokes to score quickly, he still hasn’t proven his ability to do the same, and will be eager to find quick runs in this series.
With Mitchell Marsh injured, Steve Smith now has a chance to comeback to number three. With David Warner, Marsh and Stoinis out, Steve Smith has a really nice opportunity to make that number three spot his own. Over the last two years he only batted at three once, with Mitchell Marsh missing the game. Since then, Smith has always been used at number four or lower, floating around when quick wickets fall.
With Smith lacking power-hitting abilities, questions are being rising on his presence in the first eleven. Tim David’s inclusion now increases the competition. The middle-order already consists of Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, leaving little room in the side. Cameron Green is also showing strong signs of improvement and will be hard to ignore. Adding Tim David to the list leaves Steve Smith with no place to hide. Tim David is proving to be undroppable after the exciting talent shown in franchise cricket.
As there is very little room in the line-up, Steve Smith will grab his chances at number three big time. He has the backing of Aaron Finch as a versatile cog in the line-up. Smith though needs a few big scores to ensure he stays ahead of the competition around him.
Australia has around eight to ten games before the World Cup begins. Aaron Finch has already stated that the side will experiment a bit. They will have to play around with the bowling specifically, given Mitchell Starc is absent. The injuries though, present Steve Smith with a huge opportunity. He has been a silent member of the T20 side over the last year, with quiet contributions in the World Cup as well. Now his time has come to step out of the shadows and prove his ability at number three again.