Former Australian wicket-keeper, Ian Healy expressed shock about the national selectors' decision not to use Steve Smith as an opener in white-ball cricket.
According to Healy, Steve Smith's recent performance in the Big Bash League (BBL) for the Sydney Sixers - where he scored 328 runs in four innings with scores of 36, 101, 125 not out and 66 - makes it hard to overlook his qualifications as an opener in white-ball cricket, particularly given the poor form of David Warner and Aaron Finch.
Finch retired from ODIs late last year after a miserable season, which also saw the hosts exit the T20 World Cup at home prematurely. Healy also compared Smith with the legendary Don Bradman and said it was a "privilege" watching the cricketer bat. Asked whether he would like to see Smith open in the shortest format, Healy said, "Definitely, how could you not?" "Who opened with (David) Warner in the T20 World Cup? It was Finchy (Aaron Finch) who was the captain.聽
Both Warner and Finch aren't playing anywhere near as well as Smith, so he overtakes both of those in my eyes with the way he's batting now," Healy told Sportsday NSW on Wednesday. The 58-year-old added that not just T20Is, the selectors should consider Smith for the opener's role in the 50-over World Cup in India next year.
"We don't play many international T20s so hopefully he's doing this (scoring big in BBL) in the lead-up to the next World Cup. Even in the 50-over game, I'd be opening with him as well." Healy indicated that very few batters in Australia came anywhere close to Smith in terms of technique. "I feel like it's a privilege watching him. When he gets out, seeing how hard the others are doing it, the discrepancy between him and the rest is unbelievable, it's very Bradman-like.
"He's just doing it so easily and how he's done it, he'd have a technical idea of what he's doing -- he鈥檚 talking grip and everything like that, but I like his feet, his feet are still and his head is still. When he played at his best maybe three years ago or four years ago, he was walking all over the place but when the bowler delivered the ball he was dead still, and his feet were set. He's finding the middle of the bat incredibly often and it feels like a privilege watching him play like this, he wasn't doing it six months ago," he said.聽
Keeping white-ball cricket aside though, Steve Smith's current focus will be on the much-awaited Test series vs India in India, starting February 9 in Nagpur.
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