The Roar
The Roar


Let's calm down before we spoil Steve Smith

Steve Smith got out in an uncharacteristic manner. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Roar Pro
1st January, 2015

The Australian selection committee is at risk of ruining the developing talent that is Steve Smith if he is given any more responsibility.

Sections of the media and public are calling for the 25-year-old to bat at number three, captain Australia at the World Cup, become full-time Test captain and also lead the Twenty20 team.

Smith, as his habit, may be able to manage all this with ease but he deserves the chance to continue developing his own game as much as possible.

Smith has been one of the least expected Test match guns in recent history. Few could have predicted how effective he would be after watching his early beginnings.

He deserves to take great satisfaction from proving so many people, including some experts, wrong. He clearly belongs at the level. Nobody criticises his unorthodox technique any more. Now they say his quirky technique makes him difficult to bowl to. His fielding has always been exceptional too. The final string to his bow, his leg-spin, has not become a potent weapon but is still useful when Australia needs a wicket.

But the problem is Smith is likely to suffer a fall at a time when many want him to become captain in every format and also take on the hardest position to bat, number three. It could be a horrible time for him if he is given too much responsibility before he is truly ready.

Let’s remember he has had one year of exceptional international cricket. Making runs when nobody expects him to is different to making runs when he’s the wicket other teams are targeting most. Smith clearly won’t continue his form of 2014 but it will be interesting to see if he can withstand the pressure of being one of the main men. Teams will study him more thoroughly and find ways to exploit his weaknesses.

Will his batting stand up? Many very good players have suffered a dry spell after initial success. Smith will need to adapt to the extra attention and improve further. He should not be given any more responsibility during this process.


Things are happening very quickly for Smith. He has moved up the order to number four (and dominated), been made permanent vice-captain and now captained two Test matches. He has handled everything perfectly and clearly has the mentality, calmness and skill to be a quality international cricketer for many years.

But he’s not Superman. He is already doing more than his share for a player who is still developing and improving. Instead of burdening him with captaining Australia in a World Cup when he only just broke into the one-day XI, leave that to George Bailey.

People have forgotten Bailey is an exceptional one-day player and captain. He oversaw Australia becoming the number one ranked team as well. Let’s also leave number three to Shane Watson, whose experience and quality are underrated by the public but not the selectors.

Smith has proven plenty of people and certainly myself wrong on multiple times. He may well prove me wrong again if given even more responsibility. For his own sake, though, he should be allowed to adapt to his changing standing in the game, instead of being given any more leadership roles or batting promotions.