Steve Smith throws down sledging gauntlet before South Africa
Steve Smith, the Australian cricket team skipper, believes any attempt to get under his skin from the South African cricket team will only motivate him to do well.Updated: Feb 28, 2018 14:57 IST
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Steve Smith has warned the home team against sledging him ahead of Australia’s four-Test series against South Africa beginning in Durban on Thursday.
The Australian cricket team skipper, who is coming off an impressive Ashes series where he scored 687 runs with the help of three hundreds to lead his team to a 4-0 win in the five-match series, said the South Africans can sledge him at their own peril.
“They can go for their lives,” he was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
In the Ashes series, after Smith scored a match-winning hundred in the first Test at Brisbane, England had tried to get under his skin during the second Test at Adelaide. Though Smith could score only 40 and six in Adelaide, Australia went on to win the match by 120 runs.
Smith then bounced back in style in the third Test, hitting the career-best 239 to fashion series-clinching win for his team.
The 29-year-old now believes that another round of sledging in South Africa will only motivate him to produce his best.
“I might be able to tell you more after the first Test match, but if they do, go for it, it doesn’t bother me. A bit of a verbal challenge actually makes me switch on a bit more and gets me in for the fight,” he said.
Unchanged playing XI
Smith named the same playing XI for the first Test that he had used against England in the last Ashes Test at Sydney in January.
Though he was not sure about the behaviour of the pitch for the first Test, he believes that the current set of players are good enough to deal with all conditions.
The Australian captain, though, was skeptical about the nature of the pitch and hoped his team would be able to adapt to the given situation adroitly.
“I thought that they’d go with quite slow wickets or maybe green wickets. Looking at the (Kingsmead) wicket now a couple of days out, it looks like it could be quite slow, maybe not a great deal of carry.
“But I’m terrible at judging wickets, so it’s just about summing it up when we’re out there and adapting to whatever we’re dealt and identifying it quickly and making sure we’re doing everything we need to do on our feet quickly,” he said.
Australia XI: David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (c), Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
First Published: Feb 28, 2018 14:57 IST