'He understands cricket in India better than Cummins...': Shastri fires huge 'Steve Smith' warning for Rohit and co.
Though Australia are without seasoned campaigner David Warner in Indore, former Indian head coach Ravi Shastri feels that the visitors still have a ‘readymade replacement’ at the top.
Rohit Sharma's Team India will look to seal their spot in the final of the ICC World Test Championship when the hosts take on Australia in the 3rd Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy at Indore. Veteran batter Steve Smith will lead the visitors in the absence of captain Pat Cummins, who has opted out of the 3rd Test due to a family emergency. Extending his support to Cummins, former Indian head coach Ravi Shastri opined that the Australian pacer has done the right thing by staying back in Sydney with his ailing mother.
After thrashing the top-ranked Test side in the first two games of the bilateral Test series, hosts India will lock horns with Cummins-less Australia in the series decider on Wednesday at the Holkar Cricket Stadium. The visitors will also miss the services of veteran opener David Warner, who was earlier ruled out of the entire series. Though Australia are without seasoned campaigner Warner in Indore, Shastri feels that the visitors still have a ‘readymade replacement’ at the top.
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"Australia do have a readymade replacement at the top in Steve Smith. And I think that will work for them. 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.
Stand-in skipper Smith will lead the Baggy Greens for the third time after being reinstated as the vice-captain of the Australian side in 2021. Smith had captained the visitors when Australia toured India in the 2016-17 season. "There’s also the added element of how Smith will lead Australia here. He’s got a great understanding of Indian conditions, having led here before and also all the years he’s spent playing and captaining in the IPL. He understands the tempo of cricket in India better than what Cummins would have," Shastri added.
All-rounder Cameron Green, who missed the first two Tests of the series due to a fractured finger, is fit to play the Indore encounter. Besides Green, veteran pacer Mitchell Starc will also feature in the 3rd Test against India. “With Cameron Green coming back, Australia have six proper batters and even if two of them come off, they could score close to 300 and more in their first innings. That is key in Indore,” Shastri concluded.