Steven Smith is no doubt a legendary Test batsman, but what’s his status in T2Os?

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If you watched Ashes 2019, you know Steven Smith can do no wrong. If you have watched him leave balls, drive outside off-stump or flick off his hips, you know he isn’t normal, yet you also know dismissing him is quite a task by itself.

True, he might be a Test legend; perhaps even the best ever Test batsman since the Don himself. But how good is Steven Smith in the shortest format of the game?

Read | How do you get Steve Smith out?

Take the first match of the series against Sri Lanka for instance. At 122/1 in 10.5 overs at the fall of the first wicket, Australia promoted Glenn Maxwell over Smith in the batting order and the all-rounder slammed a belligerent half-century. Smith was back at no.3 for the next game and scored a half-century himself, but when tried for another time there in the final match of the series, fell for 13.

It isn’t like consistency is a quality in T20Is. But even as an anchor Smith has been well below average in this format at least.

Format

Inns

Runs

Ave

SR

100s

50s

Test matches

124

6973

64.56

56.38

26

27

One-Day Internationals

104

3810

41.41

86.31

8

23

Twenty20 Internationals

27

497

23.66

125.18

0

3

It isn’t just the average which has been pegging back Smith. An overall strike rate of 125.18 might sound reasonable for a T20 player. But given the position Smith bats in and the kind of role he plays in the side, he might actually be denying Australia key runs from better strikers of the ball from lower down the order.

Smith comes sixth in the list of Aussie batsmen with best averages (min 150 runs) in the format since 2013.

Australia batsmen since 2013 in T20Is - best averages (min 150 runs)

Player

Inns

Runs

Avg

SR

100s

50s

CL White

9

272

54.4

131.4

0

2

MC Henriques

7

158

39.5

131.66

0

2

GJ Maxwell

50

1537

36.59

162.3

3

7

AJ Finch

52

1668

35.48

156.76

2

9

DA Warner

31

900

34.61

143.31

1

7

SPD Smith

12

332

33.2

135.51

0

3

DJM Short

20

592

32.88

120.81

0

4

UT Khawaja

9

241

26.77

132.41

0

1

SR Watson

21

482

26.77

139.3

1

0

TM Head

15

319

26.58

130.2

0

0

GJ Bailey

15

267

24.27

145.9

0

1

CA Lynn

16

291

19.4

131.67

0

0

In 12 innings, he has three half-centuries but the appearances have been sporadic due to his commitment in other formats. But his poor average cannot be pinned down on these few and far appearances.

A glance at his record in T20 leagues and tournaments underlines his very ordinary status as a T20 player.

Smith across tournaments in T20s

Tournaments

Mat

Runs

Ave

SR

Big Bash League

20

499

31.19

124.75

Twenty20 Big Bash

14

173

19.22

116.11

Bangladesh Premier League

2

16

8

72.73

Champions League T20

17

251

27.89

104.15

Indian T20 League

81

2022

37.44

128.95

Other

26

499

23.76

124.13

Friends Provident t20

4

67

16.75

117.54

World T20

11

117

19.5

123.16

In none of the tournaments does he strike at over 130 and in the one he has played a lot in – the Indian T20 League – Smith has failed to strike as big as you would expect from a top-order batsman.

Whatever enigma he is in the longer formats, Smith in T20Is remains a dispensable force and Australia, given the kind of talent they have in pipeline from the Big Bash League, should know that Smith is droppable in this format.

Feature image courtesy:  AFP / William West