File image of Australia stand-in captain Steve Smith© Twitter
Steve Smith is leading Australia in the third Test against India in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. He replaced regular captain Pat Cummins, who is in Australia to be by his ailing mother’s side. Former India coach Ravi Shastri believes that Smith always raises his game whenever he is the captain. Notably, Smith was earlier the Australia captain until a ball-tampering incident in South Africa saw him getting stripped of captaincy.
“Firstly, whenever I have seen Smith captain the side, he’s been a different batter, a better batter. The responsibility of captaincy seems to bring that different kind of mindset. His concentration levels seem far higher, and you just have to look at his batting average as captain. It is outstanding. He is one of those players who thrives on the extra workload of leading the side,” Shastri wrote in his column for The Age.
“India will be aware that someone like Smith somewhere down the line in this series will come good. He showed glimpses in Nagpur, but then Ravichandran Ashwin got the better of him twice in Delhi. However, a player of his pedigree would have realised that he can correct what hasn’t worked for him so far. And there are few better than him to make that slight correction count with a big score.”
Shastri went on to write that Smith’s understanding of cricket in India is better than Commins’.
“He understands the tempo of cricket in India better than what Cummins would have. There have been times in this series where the inexperience of Cummins as captain in these conditions came through rather evidently. And it has hurt Australia,” he wrote.
Australia trail the four-match series 0-2.
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