Despite failures, Mark Taylor bats for Smith as Test opener

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | March 12, 2024 IST

Steven Smith

New Delhi, March 12: Despite his repeated failures in his new role as opener, Australia Test team vice captain Steven Smith has the surprise support from former captain and cricket icon Mark Taylor. 

Though Smith has managed only 51 runs in four innings he batted in the two Tests in New Zealand, former Australian opener Taylor feels the side need to persist with Smith as Test opener.

Smith has managed just 171 runs at an average of 28.50 since being promoted to the crucial role of opener in Australia's Test side. The 34-year-old had a torrid time as opener in the recently-completed 2-0 series victory over New Zealand.

Reminding Smith's ability to find new ways to counter tough issues in and off the cricket field, during his international career as a successful professional player and a former Australian skipper, Taylor urged the team management to back Smith. 

Smith as the Test opener had  a tough outing in the recently concluded series against New Zealand. Australia won the two-match Test series 2-0 after a match-winning inning played by wicket-keeper batter Alex Carey but Smith's struggle with his new opening position continued as he scored 31, 0, 11 and 9 across four innings.

Smith was handed a new position to bat after David Warner’s retirement from Test cricket after a home series win against Pakistan. Across four matches since opening for Australia in the Test, Smith has hardly been effective with the bat. With the highest score of 91 against West Indies in the second Test, Smith has scored 171 runs.

"The two Test matches were played on pitches that were certainly bowler-friendly and I think that point needs to be made. It's going to be very difficult for Australia to change now, to be totally honest ... I think the die is cast. I think they are going to have to stick that way, because if they want to bring in an opener now, someone is going to have to miss out," Taylor was quoted by Wide World of Sports.

"You make a change in a team if you think you can make the team better, that's the bottom line. The side is finding ways to win. There will be no rush by Australian selectors to make a change to our batting order. I think Australia will stick with what they're doing and stick with Steve Smith to open the batting next summer," he added.

Smith has scored 9685 runs in the longest format of the game with a stunning average of 56.97 in 109 matches. However, his recent struggle with the bat saw a dip in his average to 42.22 in the last 13 games.

Meanwhile, head coach Andrew McDonald rallied behind Smith, defending the star player amidst mounting criticism.

"No doubt everyone is still asking the question ... he is a great player and his ability to problem solve is one of his great strengths," McDonald said. "I think it's unfair, and that will probably mean I'm going into defensive mode around my player. I don't think it's deserved. He'll be able to work through that.

"He's been challenged in these conditions. He's up for the challenge, and I think any time that Steve Smith fails he sees it as a greater challenge,” he added.

Australia’s next big assignment will be the Border-Gavaskar five-match Test series against India. (With IANS Support). 

    Tags
  • Mark Taylor
  • Steven Smith
  • Test Cricket
  • Australia-New Zealand Series

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