Veteran Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy has criticized the national selectors for not recognizing Steve Smith as the lead-off batsman in white-ball cricket. Smith, 33, scored 36, 101, 125 not out and 66 runs in four innings for the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League (BBL).
Given that David Warner and Aaron Finch aren’t at their best, Healy says it’s hard to ignore Smith’s qualifications as an opener. After a terrible season that saw the hosts forced to leave the T20 World Cup at home early, Finch announced his retirement from ODIs late last year.
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Steve Smith beats Aaron Finch and David Warner: Ian Healy
In addition, Healy compared Smith to cricket star Don Bradman, claiming it was a “privilege” to watch the player bat.
When asked if he preferred Smith to start in the shortest format, Healy replied: “Absolutely, how could you not?”
“Who opened with (David) Warner in the T20 World Cup? It was Finchy (Aaron Finch) who was the captain. Both Warner and Finch don’t play nearly as well as Smith, so I think he’s catching up with them both with the way he’s hitting now. Healy told Sportsday NSW on Wednesday.
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The 58-year-old continued by saying that in addition to T20 Internationals, the selectors should also consider Smith for the opening position in the 50-over World Cup in India.
“We don’t play many international T20s so hopefully he will do this (scoring a lot in BBL) in the run up to the next World Cup. Even in the 50-over game, I would also open with him.
I feel privileged watching Steve Smith: Ian Healy
Healy claimed that very few Australian batsmen had a technique even close to Smith’s.
“I feel like it’s a privilege to watch him. When he gets out and sees how hard the others are doing, the disconnect between him and the rest is unbelievable, it’s very Bradman-esque. He just does it so easily and how he’s done it he would have a technical idea of what he’s doing – he talks about grip and all that stuff but I like his feet his feet are still and his head is quiet.
“When he was playing at his best maybe three or four years ago he was running all over the place, but when the bowler delivered the ball he was dead still and his feet on the ground. He finds the middle of the bat incredibly often and it feels like a privilege to see him play like this, he didn’t six months ago.
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