Steve Smith (cricketer)

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Steve Smith
Refer to caption
Smith in 2014
Personal information
Full name Steven Peter Devereux Smith
Born (1989-06-02) 2 June 1989 (age 29)
Kogarah, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Nickname Smudge, Smithy
Height 176 cm (5 ft 9 in)[1]
Batting Right-handed
Bowling Right-arm leg spin
Role Top-order batsman
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 415) 13 July 2010 v Pakistan
Last Test 22 March 2018 v South Africa
ODI debut (cap 182) 19 February 2010 v West Indies
Last ODI 28 January 2018 v England
ODI shirt no. 49
T20I debut (cap 43) 5 February 2010 v Pakistan
Last T20I 27 March 2016 v India
T20I shirt no. 49
Domestic team information
YearsTeam
2007–present New South Wales (squad no. 19)
2010 Royal Challengers Bangalore
2011 Worcestershire
2011 Kochi Tuskers Kerala
2011–present Sydney Sixers
2012–2013 Pune Warriors India
2013 Antigua Hawksbills
2014–2015 Rajasthan Royals
2016–2017 Rising Pune Supergiant
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI FC LA
Matches 64 108 118 154
Runs scored 6,199 3,431 10,424 5,226
Batting average 61.37 41.84 57.27 45.44
100s/50s 23/24 8/19 37/44 10/32
Top score 239 164 239 164
Balls bowled 1,339 1,046 5,057 1,988
Wickets 17 27 67 46
Bowling average 54.88 34.48 52.86 38.78
5 wickets in innings 0 0 1 0
10 wickets in match 0 0 0 0
Best bowling 3/18 3/16 7/64 3/16
Catches/stumpings 96/– 62/– 174/– 91/–
Source: ESPNcricinfo, 26 March 2018

Steven Peter Devereux Smith (born 2 June 1989) is an Australian international cricketer and former captain of the Australian national team. As of June 2018, Smith is the top-ranked Test batsman in the world, according to the ICC Player Rankings. On 30 December 2017 he reached a Test batting rating of 947, the second-highest of all time only behind Don Bradman's 961. At various times, he has been described as one of the best batsmen in the world.[2][3] He plays for New South Wales and Sydney Sixers in domestic cricket.

Although he was initially selected for Australia as a right-arm leg spinner, Smith now plays primarily as a batsman. After a few matches in 2010 and 2011, he has been a regular player in the Australian team since 2013, and took over captaincy from Michael Clarke in late 2015. Since then he has predominantly batted at number 3 or 4.

Awards he has won include the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy (ICC Cricketer of the Year) in 2015; ICC Test Player of the Year in 2015, 2017; the Allan Border Medal for the best player in Australian Cricket in 2015, 2018; Australian Test Player of the Year: 2015, 2018 and Australian One Day International Player of the Year: 2015. He was named by Wisden as one of their Cricketers of the Year for 2015. In 2014, Martin Crowe described Smith as one of the young Fab Four of Test Cricket along with Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli.[4]

In March 2018, Smith was widely criticised for overseeing ball tampering in the third Test against South Africa. Following an investigation by Cricket Australia, Smith was banned from all international cricket and domestic cricket in Australia for one year, and will not be considered for a leadership role for another year after that.

Early and personal life[edit]

Steve Smith was born on 2 June 1989 in Kogarah, Sydney to an Australian father, Peter, who has a degree in chemistry,[5] and an English mother, Gillian. Smith attended Menai High School, and left at age 17 to play cricket in England where he played club cricket for Sevenoaks Vine in the premier division of the Kent Cricket League. He did well for Sevenoaks that he was picked to play for Surrey's second XI.[6][7][8]

Because his mother was born in London, Smith has dual British and Australian citizenship.[9] In 2011, Smith started dating Dani Willis, a commerce and law student at Macquarie University.[10] In June 2017, the couple announced their engagement while on holiday in New York.[11] His autobiography, The Journey, was released on 25 October 2017.[12]

Youth and domestic career[edit]

Smith with New South Wales in 2008

Smith was the member of Australian team at 2008 Under-19 Cricket World Cup in Malaysia. In the tournament he scored 114 runs and took seven wickets in four matches.[13][14]

Smith made his first-class debut for New South Wales against Western Australia at the SCG on 24 January 2008. He scored 33 in his only innings as NSW defeated WA outright.[15] He was part of the New South Wales team that won the 2009 Twenty20 Champions League. In the final against Trinidad and Tobago at Hyderabad, Smith made 33 with the bat and took two wickets.[16]

By the end of the 2009–10 domestic season, Smith had a first-class batting average of over 50 after 13 first-class matches. While his first-class bowling average in the high forties was not as impressive, his bowling appeared to be steadily improving following some well-publicised mentoring and high praise from Shane Warne.[17] In the final match of the season he took 7 for 64 in the second innings against South Australia.[18]

Big Bash League[edit]

Smith made his Twenty20 cricket debut for New South Wales in a match against South Australia at Adelaide on 1 January 2008 during the six team KFC Big Bash competition.[19] Smith was the leading wicket taker at the 2008 Big Bash tournament. He took 4/15 against Queensland and finished with 9 wickets overall.[20] He was also named the second-best player of the tournament.[21] In 2011–12, the Australian T20 competition became the city-based Big Bash League featuring eight teams. Smith joined the Sydney Sixers and filled in as captain when Brad Haddin could not play due to Test duties,[22] subsequently leading the team to victory in the inaugural season. As an all-rounder, he scored 166 runs with the bat from nine matches with a strike rate of 130.71, including one half century. With the ball, he took 6 wickets at an economy rate of 8.06 per over. He also took nine catches throughout the tournament.[23] In the final match, the Sixers beat Perth Scorchers by 7 wickets while chasing down the target of 157 within 18.5 overs after the Scorchers made 5/156 in 20 overs. Smith's good form during the Big Bash League, attracted the attention of former India Captain Sourav Ganguly, and was recruited to play for the Pune Warriors India team captained by Sourav Ganguly in the 2012 Indian Premier League. Smith had also been made captain of the team in one match, when Ganguly was rested, despite Australian captain Michael Clarke being the vice-captain. He continued to play for the same franchise in 2013, under the captaincy of Angelo Mathews.

Indian Premier League[edit]

Smith was first bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for the 2010 Indian Premier League as a replacement for Jesse Ryder.[24] During the 2011 IPL player auction, he was bought by Kochi Tuskers Kerala for $200,000,[25] but he had to undergo an ankle operation and was not available to play for them that season.[26]

The next season, Kochi Tuskers were dropped from the IPL and Smith was put up for auction. He went unsold at the 2012 IPL Players Auction, but was later bought as a replacement for Mitchell Marsh by the Pune Warriors India.[27] In his first match for his new team, he scored 39 runs off 32 balls to lead his team to victory against the Mumbai Indians. He received the Man of the Match award for this effort.[28]

In the auction for IPL 2014, Smith was bought by Rajasthan Royals for $600,000.[29][30] Smith was given the captaincy of the Royals in the latter half of the 2015 season and led the team to significant victories, thus ensuring a berth for his team in the play-off part of the tournament.

During the 2016 IPL Auction, Smith was bought by new franchise, the Rising Pune Supergiants for the same price as in the previous auction ($600,000),[29] and struggled early for form. Smith finally broke a run of low scores against Sunrisers Hyderabad, scoring 46*. His form continued as he registered his maiden T20 century against the Gujarat Lions, scoring 101 off 54 balls.[31] He then went on to score a further 45 against the Mumbai Indians, before sadly being ruled out of the remainder of the tournament with a wrist injury.[32]

The Supergiant management axed MS Dhoni as captain and named Smith as captain for the 2017 season. In RPS's first game against Mumbai Indians, Smith led his team to victory in style, scoring 84* and was rewarded with the Man of The Match award. Three consecutive losses, however, left his team reeling in last position on the points table. An incredible run of 8 wins in 10 matches helped Supergiant finish in the second position, and thus qualify for the playoffs, with Smith receiving praise for his captaincy from renowned cricketers and experts like Sunil Gavaskar and Kevin Pietersen. He led his team to the final with a 20 run victory over Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 1. In the final Smith's men faced Mumbai yet again. He scored 51 off 50 balls but could not lead RPS to victory. Pune lost the match by one run.[33] Smith was RPS's highest run scorer in the tournament, scoring 472 runs at an average of 39.33, including three fifties.

In February 2018, he was named as captain of Rajasthan Royals for the upcoming IPL 2018.[34] However, following his admission of involvement in the Australian test side's ball tampering controversy in the Third Test in South Africa in March 2018, it was announced by the team that Smith has stood down from that role and Ajinkya Rahane took charge as the new captain for Rajasthan Royals team.[35][36]

On 28 March 2018, after being banned by Cricket Australia for his involvement in a ball tampering incident, Smith's player contract with the Royals was terminated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India as Steve Smith and fellow Australian batsman David Warner were banned from playing for their respective teams for the upcoming 2018 IPL edition.[37][38][39][40]

Global T20 Canada[edit]

In May 2018, he was named as one of the ten marquee players for the first edition of the Global T20 Canada cricket tournament.[41][42] On 3 June 2018, he was selected to play for the Toronto Nationals in the players' draft for the inaugural edition of the tournament.[43][44] In the first match against Vancouver Knights Smith scored 61 runs from 41 balls alongside Anton Devcich as Toronto Nationals won by six wickets.[45][46] In the tournament he scored 167 runs in six matches at an average of 33.40, including two fifties.[47]

2010–2011: debut and early international career[edit]

Steve Smith made his international cricket debut in a Twenty20 International match playing as a leg spinner against Pakistan at Melbourne in February 2010. The same month, he made his One Day International debut against the West Indies also at Melbourne, playing in the fifth match of the series.[20]

In the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 competition held in the West Indies, Australia finished runners up to England. Smith took 11 wickets in seven matches at an average of 14.81 to finish as the equal-second-highest wicket-taker of the tournament.[48]

Smith made his Test debut at Lords in July 2010, playing both Tests against Pakistan in the 2010 Test series played in England.[20] He was selected mainly for his bowling, and batted down the order, although his bowling was not required in the first innings. In the second innings, he took 3 wickets for 51 as Australia won by 150 runs.[49] In the second Test he was called to bowl only ten overs and took no wickets, although he played an impressive role with the bat in the second innings. Batting with the tail, he scored 77 including nine fours and two sixes off successive balls, helping Australia to set a competitive target after having been bowled out for 88 in the first innings.[50]

Smith's fielding attracted attention during the 2009–10 season with some spectacular catches in the outfield.[51]

In the 2010–11 Australian summer, Smith played three Tests in the 2010–11 Ashes series, this time playing more as a batsman, taking the number six spot in the order. His performances were solid during the series, getting a number of starts and scoring two half centuries. Following the 2010–11 Ashes, Smith did not play another Test for two years, his next Test series coming against India in March 2013.[52]

2013–15: return and breakthrough[edit]

Tour to India and back to back Ashes 2013–14[edit]

Smith's return to the test team came during the 2013 tour of India. In the previous two Sheffield seasons his form had been good without being great (averaging 37), but he was chosen for the 17-man squad, primarily as a backup batsman, rather than an allrounder as he had been in the test team previously.[53] Smith was chosen for the third test in Mohali, his first in over two years, when four players were dropped for "not doing their homework".[54][55][56]

In his first match innings in India he scored 92 before being stumped by Dhoni from a delivery by Pragyan Ojha, and in the second innings he later scored 5 runs.[57] In the final Test match at Delhi, Smith made 46 and 18 runs, respectively, but was unable to win the Test match as India secured a 4–0 win against Australia.[58]

Following Australia's 4–0 horror defeat in India, Australia's next series was against England in the British Isles in July. Although the squad for the 2013 Ashes were finalised in April, Smith was the vice-captain of Australia's A team and was later called into the main squad after showing some promise in the Australia's A tour to the United Kingdom in June where he made 133 runs against Ireland in Belfast but also as a backup batsman due to Michael Clarke's fitness concerns.[59][60] He played his first-class tour match with the main squad on 2 July 2013 in Worcester making 111 runs in both innings combined. In the first Test match at Trent Bridge he made a half century in his first innings but fell cheaply in the second innings getting out lbw by Graeme Swann. While making little impact at Lord's, Smith produced a century at Hove against Sussex on 27 July.[61]

In the third Test being 2–0 down to England, Australia moved up north to Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester needing to win or draw to save the series. Smith made 89 and 19 runs, respectively, but the third Test match stirred controversy about the on-field umpire's decisions and DRS (Decision Review System) causing Smith to surivive in two occasions and his teammate Usman Khawaja to be dismissed.[62][63] In the final Test, Smith scored his maiden Test century, which he achieved in the first innings of the last Test of the series at The Oval,[57] reaching the total in style by hitting a six off the bowling of Jonathan Trott. He became only the sixth Australian to reach his maiden Test 100 with a six.[64] At the end of the series, the urn was retained by England after winning the series 3–0. Smith played in all five tests, scoring 345 runs at an average of 38.33.

Smith was called in the Ashes XI squad for the first Test of 2013–14 Ashes series in Brisbane.[65] Despite a slow start in the first and second Test, Smith produced his first Test century on home soil in the third Test at Perth helping Australia display a total of 6–326 at stumps on the second day to later win the Test match and be awarded man of the match.[66][67] In the fourth Test he was dismissed at 19 by Stuart Broad but later on made another century in the final Test at the SCG, alongside with the partnership with Brad Haddin, helping Australia come back from 5–97 to 326 all out in the first innings and went on to win the Test match by 281 runs.[68][69] The victory in Sydney marked a 5–0 whitewash victory towards Australia after a dismal 3–0 loss during the winter period of 2013. Steve Smith made two centuries and produced 327 runs at an average of 36. Smith played just one ODI match during England's tour during 2013–14, in the 4th ODI at Perth where he made only 19 runs.

Tour of South Africa 2014[edit]

Following a 5–0 victory against England in the Ashes, Australia were scheduled three Test matches and three T20 matches in South Africa. In the first test at Centurion, Johannesburg, Smith made his fourth century and first in South Africa, where he and Shaun Marsh made a 233 run partnership from 4–98.[70] Australia won the test by 281 runs.[71] The second Test in Port Elizabeth saw a slower pitch as Smith made 49 and a duck and South Africa levelled the series 1–1. In the deciding Test match in Cape Town, Smith made 89 runs in the first innings and finished 36 not out in the second innings as Australia won the series 2–1.[72] Steve Smith produced 269 runs at an average of 67.55, the third-best in the series and the second-best by an Australian, second to David Warner.

Tri Series in Zimbabwe and UAE 2014[edit]

The five-month break of cricket activity saw a surprise pick of Smith called up for the 2014 Zimbabwe Tri-Series on the August 2014. Smith prior to the tour had two ODI matches in the last two years.[73] In his first match against Zimbabwe, he was run out by Sikandar Raza. He made scores in his thirties in his participating matches but only made 10 runs in the final against South Africa on 6 September, where South Africa went on to win the Tri-Series.

The squad later travelled to the UAE to face Pakistan in a T20 Match, three ODIs and two Tests. In the first and only T20 match, Smith made three runs before being dismissed and later won the single T20 match. Following the T20 matchup was 3 ODIs. In the first ODI at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Smith made his first ODI century scoring 101 runs off 118 balls to push the visitors to a 1–0 lead in the series.[74] In the second ODI he made 12 runs and in the third and final ODI he made 77 runs off 105 balls to win the ODI match by 1 run. However, during the match, Steve Smith's catch on Fawad Alam questioned whether his catch was within the ICC laws. The incident occurred when in the 18th over of Pakistan's chase of 231 where Xavier Doherty delivered the ball and before Fawad made contact with his paddle sweep, Smith had moved from first slip towards leg slip to intercept the shot. The legality of the catch continued to be the main talking point after the ODI Series and afterwards ICC made a press statement stating that: "As long as the movement of a close catching fielder is in response to the striker’s actions (the shot he/she is about to play or shaping to play), then movement is permitted before the ball reaches the striker. On the day, if umpires believe any form of significant movement is unfair (in an attempt to deceive the batsman), then the Law still applies."[75][76] The win saw Australia rise back to number one in the ICC ODI Rankings and Steve Smith was made man of the series for his batting performances.[77]

Transitioning into the Test series saw Australia's continued failure against reverse swing and spin in the subcontinent. In the warm-up match against Pakistan A in Sharjah, Australia lost by 153 runs where Smith made 58 but retired out.[78] In the first Test match in Dubai, Smith made 22 runs in the first innings and 55 runs in the second innings but collectively lost the Test match by 221 runs. In the second Test, Smith made a duck and 97 runs but Australia's woes against spin continues as Australia lose by 356 runs.[79] In the series he made 174 runs at an average of 43.5 runs.

South Africa, India and World Cup success 2014–15[edit]

Arriving back from the subcontinent following their 2–0 Test defeat against Pakistan. Smith played 4 ODI out of 5 series against South Africa where Australia defeated South Africa 4–1 in the ODI Series. He missed the first match due to selectors picking Shane Watson over Smith but later joined the remainder of the games due to Michael Clarke's hamstring injury.[80] In his first match in Perth he registered 10 runs but in the continuing games he made: 73, 104 and 67 runs. Smith scored his first century on Australian soil in the 4th ODI at the MCG. Steve Smith was made man of the series and produced 254 runs, the highest Australian total in the series.

India arrived in Australia to play a tour Test match series and a tri-series ODI competition with England. The ODI Series began after the four Test series, preceding the 2015 Cricket World Cup. The Test series was played first and the first Test match was scheduled on 4 December in Brisbane, but was later postponed because of the death of Phillip Hughes. The first Test was later rescheduled to the Adelaide Oval on 9 December and Brisbane would be hosting the second Test on 17 December.[81] In the first Test match in Adelaide, the Australian players wore Hughes' Test cap number 408 on their playing shirts for the match as well as black armbands in honour of their former teammate.[82] In the first Test match in Adelaide, Smith scored 162 runs in 298 balls in the first innings and made 53 runs in the second innings, defeating India by 48 runs into day five. This also marked Steve Smith's first Test century against India and at the Adelaide Oval.

On 15 December, Smith was named Australia's new vice-captain and following an injury to Michael Clarke, he was appointed stand-in skipper against India with Brad Haddin as his deputy.[83] He made his captaincy debut for Australia in the Second Test match against India at the Gabba.[84] He continued his batting form and made 133 runs in the first innings before being run-out in the second innings with a score of 28. Steve was made man of the match and Australia were 2–0 in the series, defeating India by 4 wickets. In the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Smith made his third consecutive century in the first innings of the Test match scoring 192 runs in 433 balls. He also scored his 1,000th run in the 2014 calendar year, and became the eighth-fastest Australian to reach 2000 Test runs, beating previous Australian captains such as Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting.[85]

The final Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground saw Smith in his fourth consecutive century against India. The achievement marked Steven Smith joined Don Bradman (6), Neil Harvey, Jack Fingleton and Matthew Hayden (4 each) as Australian centurions in four or more consecutive Tests, a streak Smith started during the 1st Test at Adelaide. Smith also became the first Australian skipper to open their captaincy with three consecutive centuries, and the second batsman since Jacques Kallis against West Indies to score a century in every match of a Test series.[86] The Test match ended in a draw as Australia defeated India 2–0 in the series, thus returning the Border–Gavaskar Trophy to Australia. The conclusion of the Test series saw Steven Smith man of the series, but also scoring 769 runs at an average of 128.16, the highest aggregate score in a four-test match series in Australia and also marked the highest number of runs scored against India by an Australian, surpassing Donald Bradman.[87][88]

Following the Test series, an ODI tri-series with India and England was confirmed in preparation for the upcoming Cricket World Cup hosted by Australia and New Zealand. In his first ODI match against England in Sydney, he was dismissed at 37 runs by Moeen Ali but continued to provide runs in the following matches leading to the final against England. En route to the tri-series final, Smith was handed his first ODI match on 20 January as the skipper after George Bailey was suspended for a slow-over rate earlier in the series.[89] Three days later, Smith scored his first ODI century against England producing 102 runs in 95 balls; the win saw Australia qualify for the final[90] and later defeating England to win the Carlton Mid Triangular Series in Australia 2014–15.

In the World Cup, Smith played a vital role as versatile batsman as he played in numerous batting positions from number three down to as a middle-order batsman. In his maiden World Cup game, he was dismissed early on 5 against England in the group stages, but later improved as the tournament progressed. After making half centuries against Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, he later steered Australia into the final after making a century against India in the semi-finals at the Sydney Cricket Ground.[91] In the final, Australia drew against fellow neighbours, New Zealand after defeating South Africa. Australia's target to chase 183 runs after a New Zealand collapse saw Steve Smith score 58 not out alongside the skipper, Michael Clarke as Australia won by 7 wickets with 101 balls remaining.[92] Smith was Australia's highest run scorer in the tournament, scoring 402 runs at an average of 67, including one century and four fifties.

Tour of the Caribbean and Ashes in England 2015[edit]

Smith playing for Australia in 2015

After winning the World Cup in March, Australia's winter schedule was later released with the Test team returned from their short break towards their two Test series against the West Indies in the Caribbean. Due to IPL commitments, Smith missed out on Australia's maiden warm up match against the West Indies Cricket Board President's XI on the 27th May. He later joined the Test squad in the first Test match in Windsor Park, and scored 25 and 5 runs, respectively. In the second Test match in Sabina Park, Steve steered Australia to a first innings score of 399, where he made 199 and became the eighth man in Test history to be dismissed on 199.[93] Australia later won the match in positive fashion, beating the West Indies by 277 runs within four days and retained the Frank Worrell Trophy.[94] After his man of the match effort against the West Indies in the second Test, Smith became the second-youngest player ever to reach the number 1 ICC Test batsmen ranking and just the eighth Australian to do so.[95]

The 2–0 victory against the West Indies gave Australia some momentum into the long waited Ashes series in the British Isles. While Australia's last tour in the British Isles was in 2013, the emergence of England's Joe Root and Australia's Steve Smith saw an awaited clash to determine the better batsman in the upcoming series.[96][97] With the Australians on good form and England drawing to New Zealand and West Indies gave Australia some confidence to the countdown to the first Test in Cardiff. Steve started positively in his first-class match with a century against Kent in Canterbury.[98] He was rested on the second first-class match and in the first Test match in Cardiff, Smith made 33 in both innings as England took a 1–0 lead in the series. In the second Test in Lord's, Smith produced 215 runs in his first innings, his highest Test score and became the first Australian to score a double-ton at Lord's since the Second World War. His double century also made Smith pass 3000 Test runs, the third-youngest Australia to reach the feat.[99][100] In his second innings he made 58 runs before Australia levelled the series in a 405 run rout.

In the third Test in Edgbaston, Smith made 7 and 8 runs, respectively, both dismissed by Steve Finn, but Smith's low scores saw England take a 2–1 lead into the series. In the fourth Test in Trent Bridge, Australia needed a win to draw the series. With overcast conditions and a green top, Alistair Cook won the toss and elected to field. In the first innings, Smith was dismissed again cheaply by Stuart Broad with a score of 6, as Australia capitulated in the first session of a total 60 runs from 18.3 overs—is the quickest—in terms of balls faced—a team has been bowled out in the first innings of a Test match.[101] In the second innings, Smith was again caught by Ben Stokes in the slips from Stuart Broad with a meagre score of 5. England within three days regained the Ashes and took an unassailable 3–1 lead and critics began to question Smith's performances in seaming conditions.[102][103] Into the fifth and final Test match back at The Oval, Smith made his second century in the series registering 143 runs off 252 balls before being bowled by Steve Finn.[104] Australia later defeated England by an innings and 46 runs. However, England regained the Ashes 3–2 after winning in Nottingham in early August and later saw the Test retirements of Australia's senior players: Michael Clarke, Chris Rogers and later Shane Watson, Ryan Harris and Brad Haddin.[105] Smith made 508 runs in the series, the most runs scored in the series.

2015–2018: ascension to captaincy[edit]

Steve Smith's record as captain
  Matches Won Lost Drawn Tied No result Win %
Test[106] 34 18 10 6 0 52.94%
ODI[107] 51 25 23 0 0 3 52.08%
T20I[108] 8 4 4 0 0 50.00%
Last updated: 26 March 2018

The retirement of Michael Clarke following Australia's 3–2 defeat in the 2015 Ashes series saw Smith appointed as the full-time captain of the Australian Test team. Fellow New South Welshman David Warner was appointed as his vice-captain.[109][110]

"At 26, he is a fine young man with extraordinary talent, excellent leadership qualities and a terrific temperament."

—former Australian cricketer Rod Marsh on Steve Smith.[109]

New Zealand, West Indies and ascension to captaincy 2015–16[edit]

Next followed a three Test home series against New Zealand. Smith's output in the first Test in Brisbane was modest, scoring 48 and 1, as the team romped home for a win in a high scoring game.[111] During the second Test, Smith scored 27 in the first innings before breaking the shackles with 138 in the second innings. This was Smith's first-ever second innings century, all previous centuries having been scored in the first innings of a Test match. Australia went on to draw the second Test.[112] In the third Test, significant for being the first-ever day-night Test held at the Adelaide Oval, Smith defied difficult batting conditions to register 53 in the first innings, before falling for 14 in the second innings. Australia won the match in a tight contest.[113]

Shortly after the series against New Zealand, a three Test series was to be held against the West Indies. During the first innings of the first Test, Smith was caught behind on 10, and did not bat again, due to Australia's dominance. The second Test was successful for the captain, scoring 134* and 70* in each respective innings, as Australia went on to seal a series victory.[114] Due to poor weather conditions, the third Test was a wash out, with very little play able to be held.

Tour of New Zealand and T20 World Cup 2016[edit]

A two Test return tour against New Zealand took place in February 2016. Smith looked to be in fine touch, registering 71, 138, and 53* in the three innings in which he batted, as the Australian team won 2–0.[115]

During the T20 World Cup 2016, held in India, Smith struggled with form early, before registering 61 against Pakistan in a must-win pool match for Australia. Smith went on to score only 2 against India, as Australia were knocked out of the tournament.[116] It was believed that Smith was incorrectly given out, having clean missed a ball the umpires deemed to have been edged.[117]

Tour of Sri Lanka 2016[edit]

Smith then led the Australian Cricket Team on their tour of Sri Lanka. The three Test series was a disaster for the Aussies, losing 3–0.[118] Smith was Australia's highest run scorer in the series, scoring 247 runs at an average of 41, including one century and one fifty. Throughout the following ODI series, Smith averaged in excess of 40 across the first two matches, before leaving early for a rest.[119]

South Africa ODI Tour 2016[edit]

Australia's disappointing run of form continued into their ODI tour of South Africa. The lost the first 3 matches consecutively, largely attesting to their young bowling attack's inability to contain a strong South African batting line-up.[120] Smith was disappointing in output across the first two ODIs, before scoring 108 off 107 balls in the 3rd match, as he and David Warner helped Australia to 371.[121]

South Africa, New Zealand and Pakistan 2016–17[edit]

Smith playing for Australia in 2016

Following the 5–0 ODI defeat in South Africa, the Australian team returned home for a 3 Test series against South Africa. In the first Test Smith made a duck and 34 runs, respectively, but made little impact and Australia lost the Test match. In the second Test at Hobart, Smith made 48 runs in the first innings but the team capitulated, only making a total score of 85 runs and ending up losing the Test.[122] Following the defeat, criticism of Smith's captaincy and the team's performance emerged which saw the influx of young players such as Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddison for the last Test. After losing five consecutive Tests, Smith made 59 and 40, respectively, with the addition of his team performances to win the day-night Test match in Adelaide. The win in Adelaide avoided a 3–0 whitewash at home, as the 2–1 defeat marked Smith's series defeat at home.

After the Test series against South Africa, New Zealand played 3 ODIs in between the two Test series against South Africa and Pakistan. In the first ODI, Steve Smith registered 164 runs at the SCG, marking the highest ODI score at the ground, beating the previous score of 162 set by AB De Villiers during the 2015 World Cup.[123] With the addition of making a blinder, he was awarded "man of the match". In the second ODI he made 72 runs and in Melbourne of the final ODI he was dismissed for a duck. The Australian team won the contested Chappell-Hadlee Trophy 3–0 and returned the trophy to Australia.[124]

Pakistan was scheduled to have three Test series and 5 ODIs. In the first Test in Brisbane, Smith made 130 and 63 runs. His century in Brisbane marked his 16th Test century and his first against Pakistan. Despite Pakistan being bowled out for a low score of 142 in the first innings, Smith's captaincy tactics sparked a mixed response from critics when the on-field umpires made the decision to increase the 4th day evening session for another thirty minutes, believing a result would be determined.[125][126][127] Pakistan made a 4th innings total of 450, as Australia won by 39 runs. The second Test match was held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Smith later placed his seventeenth century, the fourth-fastest to do so and also reaching 1000 runs in the calendar year—his third consecutive achievement of this since 2014.[128][129] Despite intermittent rain, Australia managed an unlikely victory into the last session of day five, resulting in a 2–0 win for Australia.[130] The final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground marked Steve Smith's 50th Test match, as Australia whitewashed Pakistan 3–0 . Following the victory, he was awarded "Man of the Series" after making a total of 441 runs—the most in the series from both sides.[131]

Smith was once again featured in ICC's 2016 Cricket Awards as a 12th man for the ICC Test team of the year.[132] In the ODI Series against Pakistan, Smith experienced mixed results but played a vital role, with Australia later ending up routing Pakistan 4–1. On 19 January 2017, Steve Smith produced his 8th ODI century against Pakistan at the WACA Ground—becoming the quickest Australian to reach 3000 ODI runs within 79 innings.[133] Following the home series, Smith was scheduled to tour 3 ODI matches against New Zealand for the Chappell–Hadlee Trophy but later sustained a mild sprain to the medial ligament in his left ankle, so he headed to Dubai in preparation for the upcoming four Test tour of India.[134]

Tour of India 2017[edit]

Following the training at ICC's Cricket Academy Centre in Dubai, Smith began the tour of India with a century in their maiden warm-up match in Mumbai. He replicated his ton in the first Test in Pune where he produced his first century in the Indian Subcontinent, accompanied by the support of his bowlers to win their first Test match in India since 2004 and breaking India's 19 match undefeated streak, stretching back from 2012.[135][136] In the 3rd Test match in Ranchi, which is the first-ever Test match hosted at this venue, Steve Smith scored yet another century, 178*. This is the third-highest score by an Australian cricketer in Test matches played in India and the highest by an Australian Captain.[137] In the fourth Test in Dharmasala, Smith scored 111 in the first innings which helped Australia to a first innings score of 300. In the second innings, Smith played a ball onto his stumps after scoring a rapid and threatening 17 runs off 15 balls.[138] Smith was the highest run scorer in the series, scoring 499 runs at an average of 71.29, including three centuries.

Ashes series 2017–18[edit]

Smith during 2017–18 Ashes

In the first test at Brisbane, Smith scored the first century of the series, 141*, which was his 21st Test century in his 105th innings—making him the third-quickest to score 21 test centuries behind Donald Bradman and Sunil Gavaskar.[139] On 16 December 2017 Smith scored 239 on the final Ashes match at WACA Ground. He was quick to score his 22nd century at the WACA, before he converted that into a career-best 239. It was his second double-hundred and his first as captain.

Smith in 2017

In the fourth Ashes test at Melbourne, Smith continued his prodigious form when he scored 76 in the first innings before he was bowled by England debutant Tom Curran, providing him with his first wicket in test cricket. A series best 244* by England's Alastair Cook then placed Australia in a tense situation that saw them trail by 164 at the start of the fourth day. Coming in at 2/65 before lunch on a rain affected day four, Smith batted until the closure of play on day five and scored yet another century, finishing with a defiant 102* from 275 deliveries to guide Australia to a draw and denying England of its first victory in Australia since 2011. Smith concluded the 2017 calendar year with six centuries and three fifties, along with an average of 76.76 and a total of 1,305 runs, the highest of any player that year. During the final Ashes match in Sydney, Smith reached the milestone of 6,000 Test runs in 111 innings, becoming the equal second-fastest player and also the youngest Australian, ever to do so.[140][141][142]

Smith garnered praises from opponent captain Joe Root for leading the team from the front, and in Root's opinion Smith was the difference between the two teams during 2017-18 Ashes series.[143][144] Smith was the highest run scorer in the series, scoring 687 runs at an average of 137.40, including three centuries and two fifties.

2018–present: ball tampering and loss of captaincy[edit]

Tour of South Africa 2018[edit]

Smith was rested for the T20 series against New Zealand and England so he could prepare for the South African Tests.[145] The series was marred by controversial incidents on and off field. Australia won the first Test by 118 runs[146] with Smith making scores of 56 and 38 runs.[147] The result was overshadowed by a stairwell confrontation between Australian vice captain David Warner and South African wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock. Footage emerged showing Warner having to be physically restrained after words were spoken between the two.[148] This led to Smith and opposing captain Faf du Plessis being called to a meeting with umpires and match officials, where they were reminded of their responsibility to control their teams.[149] South Africa won the second Test by 6 wickets, with Smith's contributions being only 25 and 11 runs.[150] Smith's diminishing returns with the bat and lower than average strike rate suggested that he may have been struggling somewhat.[151] During the match South African fast bowler and player of the match Kagiso Rabada was suspended for the following Test after he made physical contact with Smith after he dismissed him.[152] Rabada successfully appealed the ban; a decision that annoyed Smith.[153]

Ball-tampering incident and banning[edit]

Australia were beaten by 322 runs in the third Test, with Smith barely contributing to the score.[154] However, the match result was overshadowed by illegal ball tampering that occurred on the third day. Cameron Bancroft, the second-youngest and most inexperienced member of the team, was captured by television cameras surreptitiously using sandpaper to rough up the cricket ball.[155] He then hid the sandpaper in his underwear before being confronted by the on-field umpires. When attending the press conference at the conclusion of the third day's play with Bancroft, Smith admitted that the "leadership group" of the team discussed tampering with the ball to influence the result of the match during the lunch break. He admitted that he was part of the "leadership group" but did not identify the other members.[156] Smith and vice-captain David Warner stood down from the team leadership the morning after the incident, but still played on, and wicketkeeper Tim Paine took over as interim captain for the rest of the Test match. Subsequently, match referee Andy Pycroft for the ICC banned Smith for one Test match and fined him 100% of his match fee. He handed Bancroft three demerit points and fined him 75% of his match fee.[157]

Cricket Australia launched an independent investigation, charging Smith with bringing the game into disrepute. He was suspended and sent home from the tour. The report stated that, while he did not develop the plan, Smith was found to have misled match officials and others, and as captain did not act to prevent it. He was therefore banned from all international and domestic cricket for 12 months, and is not to be considered for a leadership role for 12 months after that. Warner and Bancroft also received bans. Smith also had his contract with the Rajasthan Royals IPL team for the 2018 season terminated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India as a consequence of the sanctions.[158]

Smith arrived in Sydney later that day. In a press conference at Sydney Airport, a tearful Smith started by saying that he had nothing to add to Cricket Australia's report. He said that as captain of the Australian cricket team, he took full responsibility (even though he did not devise the plan to change the condition of the ball or actually perform the act), and that he had made a serious error in judgement: "It was a failure of leadership, my leadership." As well as apologising to his "teammates, to fans of cricket all over the world and to all Australians who are disappointed and angry", he specifically referred to the effect that the incident had had on his parents and implored others faced with questionable decisions to consider their parents. He added, "I know I will regret this for the rest of my life. I'm absolutely gutted. I hope in time I can earn back respect and forgiveness."[159][160][161]

In June 2018, Smith played in the opening fixture of the 2018 Global T20 Canada tournament, his first representative match since being found guilty of ball-tampering.[162]

Playing style[edit]

Smith bowling for New South Wales in 2008

Smith is a right-handed batsman with a technique that has attracted attention for its unorthodoxy. He moves around frequently in the crease, especially during bowlers' run-up, and ends up with the toes of his feet outside off stump against right-handers,[163] controls the bat with his bottom hand (that is, the hand closest to the blade of the bat), and is capable of playing unconventional cricket shots like the reverse sweep.[164] Playing in a club match in January 2010, right-handed Smith took guard left-handed and hit a six.[165] Due to his unorthodox style, Smith was initially labelled as a limited-overs batsman who might struggle in the longer form of the game, especially early in his career when he was vulnerable outside off stump.[164] However, Smith compensates for his unique technique with outstanding hand-eye co-ordination, and his footwork, especially to spin bowlers, is exemplary.[164] Smith spontaneously experimented with his technique during the Perth Test match in the 2013–14 Ashes, during which he decided to take a "preliminary back and across movement" to counter short-pitched bowling.[166] This change has taken his batting average from 33 to 63.55 as it stands as of 2018. At the time of delivery, Smith's stumps are fully covered, making bowled dismissals unlikely. This position also allows him to play to either the on or off side with ease.[167][168]

Much of the credit for Smith's success can also be attributed to batting coach Trent Woodhill, who coached Smith as a junior and noted his abundant talent.[8] He has also defended Smith's unique batting style, and has long argued that in Australia, many naturally talented cricketers who may not necessarily have an orthodox technique are let down by over-coaching; in the years between leaving school and his elevation into international cricket, Smith had his technique picked apart by a number of well-intentioned coaches.[8] Since re-establishing his working relationship with Woodhill, Smith appears to have regained calm and confidence in his cricket, which has since produced results over the last few seasons.[169] Smith is also known for his concentration to be able to bat for long periods of time, even through a day's play.[170]

As a bowler, however, after his quick rise up the batting order (until he became captain, and settled in at 4),[171] the comparisons to Shane Warne never gathered momentum. He was an able option as a leg spinner early in his career, but was under-used because he was described as a very defensive bowler.[172][173] In ODIs it becomes more apparent, as he will put himself on to bowl when others' economy rates are too high.

He has already been tagged as the second "Captain Grumpy" since Allan Border early in his captaincy reign, having to warn Mitchell Starc for unsportsmanlike behaviour, and being highly critical of the team's bowling and fielding despite beating New Zealand by over 200 runs.[174] Later, in 2017–2018, he publicly criticised Glenn Maxwell's training regimen when Maxwell was dropped from the Australian ODI squad.[175]

He has also been criticised for having too much influence over team selections.[176]

International centuries[edit]

As of April 2018, Smith has scored 23 Test and eight ODI centuries.

Career best performances[edit]

As of April 2018, Smith has made a total of 37 first-class centuries, ten List A centuries and one T20 century. His best bowling figures of 64/7 were taken for New South Wales against South Australia in the Sheffield Shield.[177]

Records and achievements[edit]

Awards[edit]

Player of the Series awards[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Mitchell Johnson
Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy
2015
Succeeded by
Ravichandran Ashwin
Preceded by
Mitchell Johnson
ICC Test Player of the Year
2015
Succeeded by
Ravichandran Ashwin
Preceded by
Ravichandran Ashwin
ICC Test Player of the Year
2017
Succeeded by
--
Preceded by
Mitchell Johnson
Allan Border Medal
2015
Succeeded by
David Warner
Preceded by
David Warner
Allan Border Medal
2018
Succeeded by
--