Debutant leg spinning all-rounder Steven Smith is being seen as the future of Australian cricket in the wake of his performance in the Lord’s Test against Pakistan, which the latter lost by 150 runs.
According to The Age, the link between past and present is strong. Seventeen years ago Shane Warne announced himself to England as he marauded through its national team in his first Ashes series on foreign soil. Now he is doing television commentary on his protigi.
The paper further goes on to say that Smith, of course, will never be another Warne – those freakish talents are unlikely to be seen again – but adds that he has brought to the Australian side a breezy optimism that has been missing for the past couple of years.
“We’ve already seen evidence in the shorter forms of the game that Smith will bring plenty to the table with his batting, bowling and fielding. But this first Test outing has given him the opportunity to showcase the depth of his physical and mental capacities for the future. Many of the Warne traits were on show – the aggressive approach, willingness to go around the wicket to exploit the rough against left handers, the desire to experiment. And Ponting supported him brilliantly, with well-balanced fields of close catchers and outfielders to protect the short square boundaries,” it says.
Warne, it says, has given his nod of approval, and described Smith as”a work in progress”.
He was fulsome in his praise of the 21-year-old’s tactics and approach. He thinks his action has become more controlled and less rushed than it once was, and believes his variety is certainly adequate for a bowler at his stage of development.
The Age says that the good thing about Smith’s presence in the side is that he gives the selectors and Ponting room to move: if they want an extra pace bowler or spinner, depending on conditions, they can pick one and use Smith in a floating role.
It also believes that Marcus North as a specialist batsman no longer fits in with the long term plans of the squad, notwithstanding his six wickets in Pakistan’s second innings of the Test.
His exit will ensure team balance, it concludes. (ANI)