Steven Peter Devereux Smith
June 02, 1989, Sydney, New South Wales
Also Known As
Right hand bat
Middle order batter
It has been career of incredible twists and turns. Steven Smith was a legspinner who has become Australia's best batter since Sir Donald Bradman either side of having his career derailed by the Newlands ball-tampering scandal which saw him stripped of the captaincy and banned for 12 months.
The rise from the controversy was as notable as the fall as he returned to Test cricket with a 774-run Ashes series in 2019, the pictures of him in tears at Sydney airport replaced with triumphant celebrations of centuries. Part of his punishment for Cape Town was been banned from any leadership position for two years, but he became eligible to be Australia captain in March 2020 should that turn of events come about.
He began his Test career as a legspinner who batted at No.8; by the time he was named Australia's captain five years later, he was the No.1 Test batter in the world and no more than an occasional bowler. Smith's talent was apparent early, but as a young batter he had more moving parts than an orchestra, only they didn't always work in harmony. He went away and worked on his game and returned to the Test side two years later with a much tighter technique. He still fidgeted between balls (by 2019 perhaps more so then ever) but could play every shot in the book, and a few more that defied words besides. Smith is quick-footed and adept at facing spin, but is equally comfortable driving and pulling the fast bowlers.
It in the 2014-15 home summer that he became Australia's 45th Test captain, filling in for the injured Michael Clarke in three Tests. Despite being only 25 at the time the extra responsibility clearly didn't hamper his run-making. It became clear that Smith was to be Clarke's successor, a move that was confirmed after Clarke's retirement at the end of the 2015 Ashes in England.
As Smith's batting developed his bowling became less frequently sighted, although he could still land the odd fizzing leg-break and winkle out a wicket or two. In the field Smith's athleticism and instinct stands out, even in a high-quality fielding side like Australia. He has also become a key man in Australia's ODI side, and was his country's leading run scorer in their triumphant 2015 World Cup campaign and he became captain in all three formats before his career was turned upside down.
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