Darn right the Proteas need to worry about Steve Smith

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CRICKET

Darn right the Proteas need to worry about Steve Smith

When you average nearly 64 you command respect

Journalist

We have to give Virat Kohli the respect he deserves. He may not be cricket’s cup of tea but he’s a bloody good willow-wielder. We’ve seen enough of him and, because of his adherence to fitness, we’re bound to see more of him in the future.
That leads us to one Steven Peter Devereux Smith. Yes him. The Australian captain who is currently drawing comparisons with Sir Donald Bradman.
When you average 63.57 and when your best is invariably saved for the Old Enemy that is England, it’s perfectly understandable.
Joe Root had seen enough of Smith’s broad New Balance bat, his continual but highly effective fidgeting at the crease, his appetite for runs and his understated stomach for a fight.The last time Smith was here four year ago, he used the Slazenger brand similar to the one Jacques Kallis held to our faces for more than a decade.
That’s how much has changed but so has the shape and form of Smith. At the time, the current captain was moulding his game under Michael Clarke, morphing into the greedy run machine he’s become.
He wasn’t fearsome but he was clearly dangerous. The ease in which dealt with a red-hot South African bowling attack on a difficult SuperSport Park pitch, his even 100 from a difficult position of 98/4 marked him out as an all-weather batsman of epic proportions.
If we weren’t quite acquainted with his skills on difficult surfaces, last year’s timeless 109 against India on a stinker of a pitch in Pune was the kick up the backside for any team that may have forgotten about his enduring quality.
I guess Smith, regardless of his known skill, is a far more palatable individual and seemingly isn’t as visibly intense as Kohli.The general feeling existed that Kohli spoiled for a fight with everyone and anyone. Each wicket was celebrated with a gladiator-like roar.
That’s Kohli and, while we enjoyed the fact he took pleasure in each dismissal, at times it felt too much. Kohli’s lingering skill and ability to rise to the challenge will forever remain with us.
I guess a part of us is hurt because we currently don’t have a young batting technician in the form of Smith, Kohli, Kane Williamson, or Root.
It’s a moot point to debate who is the best of the lot. I’ll raise that conversation at the end of this series.
Kohli’s about to get on his bike but the imposing figure that is Smith may make his considerable impact felt.
Australia’s batting may not be formidable, but Smith is a bulwark. A fidgety one but a batting barrier nevertheless.
Every possible red flag was raised during the Ashes series. He scored runs when everyone looked to him to deliver.
He picked gaps that no one could find. He’s got a set of shots that flush the MCC coaching manual down the toilet. He may not be technically as sound as his peers but he’s scoring more runs in whites than they are.
The Ashes were a warning and one we must heed.

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