Steve Smith, like many other cricketers, has been sadly separated from his bat, at least from past two months. And it’s taken a pandemic to make this happen. Speaking of the start of pre-season training with his team, the premier Australian batsman revealed how he hadn’t “picked up a cricket bat” ever since the Covid-19 pandemic outburst hit the pause button on the sports industry as a whole.
Smith aims to be in ‘best shape in years’ post the break and has strategically utilised this time to focus on himself. A hectic schedule seems to be planned for him ahead.
“I’ve just sort of tried to switch off from it a little bit, which I don’t do often but focusing on getting myself fit and strong. Feel like I’ve had a preseason pretty much the last couple of months. Got myself into good shape,” he said in Sydney on Monday (June 1).
The only time Smith and his bat has some contact would be whilst he was shooting tutorial videos that went up on his Instagram profile. The ace batsman, however, did believe that a number of adjustments would be required to be accepted and followed by him and his fellow cricketers. Be it fewer support assistants while practicing or ban on saliva, it’d be the senior player’s onus to take the responsibility.
“It’ll be about guys being able to help each other out as well. Particularly senior players being able to maybe take a bit of time off your own game and help someone else out at training or something like that. We’ll see what happens. Guys might have to throw more balls at other batters and help the bowlers in certain ways and different things,” he said.
Smith did understand the bewilderment of bowlers when it comes to ban of saliva or sweat on the ball to add shine to it.
“I’ve always been one to want a fair contest between bat and ball and if that’s taken away, even as a batter, I don’t think it’s great. Whether they can find other ways with certain things. I actually spit on my hands most balls, and that’s how I get my grip. So it might take some adjusting,” he said.
Smith, who was missed out on playing for a year due to the ban, also stated that any player who had to go through such times would jump on the first chances they’d get to play on field.
While he believed that commenting on the uncertainty of T20 World Cup was ‘above his pay grade’, Smith prioritises playing for his country over being a part of a T20 league. Having said that, he is also keen on visiting India to play the IPL 2020 and leading Rajasthan Royals, provided the Indian league takes place leaving a void for the world-wide event.
“When you’re playing for your country in the World Cup, that’s the pinnacle for one-day or T20 cricket. I’ll of course prefer playing in that but if that doesn’t happen and the IPL is there and they postpone it then so be it. IPL is also a terrific tournament as a domestic tournament. It’s out of everyone’s control. Players are doing what we’re told, going where we are asked to go and playing whatever is on at that stage,” he said.
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