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Ashes 2017-18: Steve Smith can achieve great heights if he stays fit, says Greg Blewett

Steve Smith, the Australian cricket team skipper who averages over 60 in Tests, has been hailed as a run-machine by former player Greg Blewett and believes that if Smith stays fit, he could achieve great heights as a player.

cricket Updated: Nov 29, 2017 09:24 IST
Omnisport, Adelaide
Ashes 2017-18,The Ashes,Australia vs England
Steve Smith’s hundred in the opening Ashes 2017-18 Test against England in Brisbane was vital in Australia securing a 10-wicket win. (REUTERS)

He is the best batsman in Test cricket and Greg Blewett believes Australia captain Steve Smith can achieve anything, though it depends on how he manages his body in the future.

Smith has been the name on everyone’s lips following his inspirational century in Australia’s 10-wicket rout of England in the opening Ashes Test.

It was a masterclass of patience and resilience as Smith wrestled momentum back from England to celebrate his 21st Test ton from 57 matches.

Smith – who is averaging 61.23 in the five-day format – has since entrenched himself atop the ICC’s Test batting rankings amid glowing praise from past players and captains, including Ricky Ponting.

Former Australia batsman Blewett, no stranger to centuries having amassed three against England throughout his 46-Test career, lauded the 28-year-old heading into the day-night match at Adelaide Oval starting Saturday.

“He is not even halfway through his career. At the moment, his stats are quite unbelievable,” Blewett, who works as a high-performance coach at the South Australian Cricket Association, told Omnisport.

“I think his last couple of years have been unbelievable. He keeps churning them out. He is a run-scoring machine. It doesn’t matter whether it’s for Australia or he goes back to New South Wales.

“It’s going to be interesting, with the captaincy as well. He has to be careful how he manages his career going forward. I think the main thing for him is going to be his energy levels. As long as he is hungry for runs all the time, you will still see him scoring well.

“If you look back in history at all the great players, there has to be a dip at some stage. It’s how he manages that and comes out of it. But certainly at the moment, he is going from strength to strength. And he generally, if he gets to 40 or 50, he goes on to make a hundred. That’s a sign of a great player. He can do anything in the game. If he stays fresh, he could achieve anything.”

Reflecting on Smith’s ton at the Gabba, which sparked a passionate celebration in the middle of the ground, Blewett said: “I know everyone is saying that’s one of his best innings and it probably is. But it’s hard to look past his innings in India. He played beautifully there. This is certainly up there in terms of patience and trying to get Australia to a lead.”

Blewett scored three of his four Test centuries against Australia’s Ashes rivals and the 46-year-old added: “It is special. Australia versus England. All the history and the game. It’s something that the players want to tick off at some stage in their career.

“But I think the emotion we saw from Steve was because it was a bloody hard innings. England put a lot of people back on the boundary, tested him with short balls and tried to restrict his scoring. I think a lot of other cricketers would’ve played that differently and tried to maybe hit out against short-pitched bowling. But he tried to weather the storm and consume some balls. It’s not that easy because England have four quicks. It was a hard-working innings.”

First Published: Nov 29, 2017 09:24 IST