Australia’s Steve Smith has been under the scanner of late for a lot of constructive rationales. First things first, his match winning knocks (144 and 142) during the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston was enough to give England a harsh reality check following their World Cup triumph. And that coupled with his batting technique, which the English bowlers are yet to decode, followed by all those analogies with the great, Sir Donald Bradman purely indicates what kind of distinction the world is being a bystander of.
All those jazzy techniques, while holding a bat or even while leaving a delivery, might have gathered sundry reviews, but the fact that he has been an undeniable genius in Test cricket for years now is far from being just an understatement.
And as we speak of aptitude, Smith’s batting brilliance is underlined within following elements:
1. Rotational bat swing:
The style with which the former captain strikes is rightly compared to a swing of a palm tree during a storm. And when you look back in time, barring his numbers, it is also his ‘rotational arc swing’ style which is identical to Bradman. And this particular technique helps him to generate a substantial power during the point of contact. Hence, when you think about it, all those pull shots are nothing but a piece of cake for him.
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2. Leg-side the strong side
The arc he generates with his bat subtly guides him to play near-perfect shots on the leg-side. As we speak of his stance, his bat usually faces the gully, which makes the leg-side his superior side to play. And that coupled with his ultra-fine wrist movements further makes him a demigod of flicks. Backing the notion is the fact that 65% of his runs have come on the leg-side.
Very little in #SteveSmith batting technique that would work for anyone else. Most would be big lbw candidates.— சக மனிதன் (@commonmantalks) August 17, 2019
3. Movement and Awareness
Smith’s movement across the off stump, which is extremely contrary to most batsmen, helps him to leave all those deliveries which need no reaction. Thus, in collation, the chances of him getting an outside edge is minimized to a greater extent given that he is well aware of his off-stump guard.
It was before the 2014 Perth Test that he used to take his guard through the middle stump. Midway through the game, the 30-year-old got into this exaggerated motion of play, and since then, his average in the first innings is more than 100.
In comparison to several other batsmen, Smith’s movement during the most crucial time while playing the ball is worth mentioning. Keeping his body straight, he stays right behind the ball to make sure the end result is desirable. Even as we speak of awareness, since he knows where his off stump is, his shot selection is perfect, to say the least.
4. Clear vision
Smith’s trigger movement when the bowler has jumped for the delivery allows him to have a double-eyed vision, which further helps him in tracking the ball more effectively compared to the traditional side-on view. And this is eventually followed by eliminating all the blind spots, which helps him to pop the topmost result.
Browser title courtesy: AFP / Lindsey Parnaby