India vs Australia: Steve Smith dismisses Michael Clarke’s concerns over captaincy
Steve Smith said that Michael Clarke’s comments were completely baseless and although Australia lost their first match against India, his captaincy is in no immediate danger.india vs australia 2017 Updated: Sep 20, 2017 13:43 IST
Steve Smith’s abilities as a poker player isn’t as well known as his proficiency with the bat but in dealing with the obvious question on Michael Clarke’s comment, the Australia captain was as impassive as he would be for most of the interaction with the media in Kolkata on Wednesday morning.
Michael Clarke, his predecessor as skipper, had said on Tuesday that Steve Smith’s captaincy is under the scanner. On the verge of playing a century of ODIs, Smith said: “I don’t think I am in a bad place with my captaincy. Obviously, results haven’t been the way we would have liked for a little while and that’s something we are trying to rectify. The guys are working hard and are ensuring that the job is done out there. It was a disappointing start to series the other day but we have got another game tomorrow to try and turn the game around.”
To many, the answer would have seemed like being served boiled vegetable while expecting a dish full of red, hot chilli peppers.
Smith also accepted that Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni helped India escape to victory but said it wasn’t because they hadn’t tried the right things.
“We did bring back Nathan Coulter-Nile when they were batting and saved (James) Faulkner for the back end. We tried breaking the partnership but couldn’t,” he said.
And to the question that Australia aren’t playing the turning ball well from Bangladesh to here, Steve Smith first pointed out that one-dayers are completely different from Tests and that the game in Chennai was truncated.
“I think in 50 overs we get a lot longer to see the bowlers and knock them to the men in the outfield and get an opportunity to get the innings going. The other day, it was more like a T20 for us. So if it’s 50 overs the guys will have a chance to give into their groove and just play the right way and it won’t be an issue.”
They trained indoors for the second successive day but before that Smith took a look at the wicket.
“There is a little bit of grass on it. Probably more than I’ve seen in India for a while. Looks alright but there are a few cracks on the wicket. I think don’t think they will play a big part.
“Looks like the wicket’s been used, I don’t know in what game (it was used by Bengal players for a knockabout last week). I will have another look tomorrow, see what the weather is doing, see if there is any change to the wicket in the morning…. And then take a call on the team,” he added.
‘World Cup semi, most memorable’
Going into his 100th ODI, Smith said his most memorable innings would be the century against India two years ago. That was in the World Cup and en route Australia winning it.
“I would probably say that my most memorable innings would be the 100 (105) I scored in the SCG in the semi-final against India. It was a pretty big game, it was good to stand up and get to score that. We lost a wicket pretty early and I was able to forge a partnership with (Aaron) Finchy (who made 81) and ya, that’s one my better ODI hundreds in a big occasion,” Steve Smith said.
The occasion was befitting of more introspection. “I think I have evolved a lot as a white ball player. When I started playing ODI cricket, my first 30 odd games, I played more as a bowler. So I had to change a bit there. I have been batting at No. 3 for a while now. So I had to find the right tempo of game, whether it’s hitting to the fielders in the deep or knowing the right time to hit a boundary…I am still learning. I think you’re always learning and trying to get better. You can never be satisfied and I’ve learnt a long along the way but so much more to learn as well.”