Steve Smith’s run in the recently-concluded Ashes series will not be forgotten easily. The 30-year-old scored 774 runs, despite not batting in three of Australia’s ten innings in the five-match series, to help his team earn a 2-2 draw in England.
Many have tried to decode how Smith gets such immense success with his unconventional technique. On Thursday, Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar shared what he thinks is the reason behind Smith’s sensational run of form.
The former India captain shared a video on his social media page, in which he explains how Smith’s ability to adapt in order to face different challenges helps him get the better of the opposition.
Tendulkar looks closely at one particular aspect of the Ashes series that got over recently. He talks about how Smith adjusted his technique for facing bouncers after getting hit on the head in the second Test at Lords, and how that adjustment shows the Australian’s smartness as a cricketer.
Here’s Tendulkar’s analysis of Smith’s batting in the 2019 Ashes:
“In the first Ashes Test match, the English bowlers tried getting Steve Smith out in the slip cordon. What Smith did was shuffle across and leave his leg stump exposed. He was leaving the balls just outside off and being selective very smartly.
“In the Lord’s Test, England decided to put in a leg slip and Jofra Archer’s bouncers troubled Smith. This happened because Smith was getting in the line of the ball but a little bit on the back foot. The most important thing for any batter is to keep the head position forward and the body weight should be, if not in line, at least marginally forward. That’s the best thing a batsman can do.
“That’s why whenever Archer bowled a short delivery and Smith wasn’t looking to pull it but rather defend it, he was getting into bad positions. That’s also how he got hit. I’m sure he went back and worked on his technique and set-up. So if there was a leg slip, he stopped going across and exposing his leg stump because he knew the bowlers were targeting him in that area. If you go across and lean backwards, it’s always going to be difficult to keep the ball down, it’s going to go in the air. So you can’t be on the top of the ball if you move that way. But if you take your back leg across but hold your front foot right there, then you’ll constantly be on the top of the ball.
“What Smith started doing in the fourth and fifth Test was leave the ball by bending forward rather than leaning backwards. So his head was going forward and whenever Archer tested him with short-pitched stuff, he was leaving the ball with his front shoulder dropping forward. The earlier position he was taking would’ve always gotten him in trouble. He worked on his technique very smartly.
“The most important factor that I noticed was, he stopped moving his left foot whenever there was a leg slip in place. That way he was always guarding his leg stump, which wasn’t the case earlier. This is the only reason why I say he has a complicated technique but an extremely organised mindset.”