Perth test 2010-11 December 16, 2010

We need to talk about Steven

Whatever could Steven Smith’s inclusion in the Australian side mean?

Alan Tyers writes Australians are never short of an idea. Okay, they are all looking like bad ideas right now, but God loves a trier. Maybe it’s something to do with growing up in a horribly hot place filled with dangerous bitey things, but you have to be resourceful. And there is nobody more resourceful than Andrew “Hang On, I’ve Got Another One” Hilditch.

That’s why, where others – including his own captain, to be fair – are questioning the selection of Little Stevie Smith as a Test match No. 6, I say, “Give the selectors a chance.” Australians are of course noted for their strong sense of fair play and the national motto: “Magnanimous in Victory, Gracious in Defeat” is well earned. The only logical explanation is that they are feeling guilty about all those years of churning out endless gritty middle-order SoBs, No. 6s who come in at 40 for 4 and score a blistering ton, grinding English hopes into the dust as they do so, and selecting Steven is how they plan to make up for it.

Steven Smith is the Australian version of reparations for war crimes, and we should accept this generous, if belated, gesture with good grace.

Jarrod Kimber writes Smith might not have made runs today, but he is an investment in the future. You can’t just keep picking 29-year-old giants and hoping they aren’t afraid of the dark anymore. Sometimes you need to pick youth. One day when he is making triple-centuries all cricket fans will tire of his piggy little face and you’ll look back on these days with loving retrospection. If he was really good now, all the other cricket nations would just start hating us again.

As Michael Hussey very nearly said in the press conference, Australia are just marginally under par. You might think that with Mitchell Johnson looking like the best of the batsmen, this pitch is flattening out. You’d be wrong. All that time Johnson spent not playing cricket after the Gabba was part of an elaborate plan to give him batting practice. Hilditch, that wise old sage, knew that this was a hard pitch to bat on, and that the middle to lower order would have to step up. I believe in Mitchell Johnson, and Steve Smith, and Harvey Dent. It would be unAustralian not too.

Alan replies He's an investment in the future like putting the mortgage on lucky number 23 at the casino is an investment in the future. You never know, right? Maybe Steve Smith will be batting at six for Australia in 10 years’ time, with 9000 Test runs to his name and a handy 215 wickets to boot. If that does happen, I strongly suspect that we will all be living in a post-nuclear apocalypse, but I should think that the Aussies will still be keen on sport. Good luck to them for the future. It definitely can't be worse than the present.

Jarrod replies England are winning this series. Surely the apocalypse has already happened? Smith's eight-wicket haul is going to weaken the pound even more, if that is possible.

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