Having completed his 12-month ban after his role in Sandpapergate, Steve Smith’s return to Australia’s cricket sides is most welcome. Undoubtedly their most talented batsman, Smith was in the unique position of rivalling Virat Kohli as the best batsman in the world at the time of his suspension.
When Smith made his international debut in all three formats as a leg spinner batting at number eight in 2010, few could have foreseen a transformation into his country’s most important batsman in the space of around five years.
Smith’s maiden Test century came in the 2013 Ashes at the Oval and he continued his improvement over the next year or so before dominating Australia’s home series’ in 2014-15.
769 Test runs at 128.16 and 882 ODI runs at 58.80 came against the likes of India, South Africa and at the World Cup as Smith’s excellent run of form, coupled with a three Test stint as captain in place of the injured Michael Clarke, cemented his status as not only Australia’s best batsman but a future leader.
Clarke’s retirement at the end of 2015 handed Smith the job fulltime and he has only continued to get better. 6,199 Test runs at 61.37 means only Sir Don Bradman has a higher average out of Australia’s top 50 Test run scorers.
Controversy aside, Smith is an almost imperious batsman at times, and it will be good to see him back and scoring runs on the world stage.
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