Steve Smith’s brief but productive run in the Big Bash League (BBL) in 2022–2023 has inspired a comeback in the T20 format. The star batsman will start the innings during Australia’s forthcoming tour of South Africa after sitting out the 2022 T20 World Cup on home soil.
The former captain of Australia amassed 346 runs for the Sydney Sixers at a strike rate of 174.75 in just five games. After Aaron Finch left, he continued to score centuries to strengthen his position as the starting batter. Mitchell Marsh, the team’s captain, will have his first opportunity to test a fresh lineup in the run-up to the 2024 T20 World Cup during the series against South Africa.
George Bailey, the selection chairman for Cricket Australia (CA), announced that Smith would definitely start the innings, possibly alongside the hot-shot Matthew Short.
“He’ll open in South Africa and I guess he’s the one guy out of those multi-format players who are heading across that we wanted to give that opportunity,” the player told reporters.
His innings in the Big Bash were quite thrilling and demonstrated his skill set and capabilities. We want to see him perform similarly to how he did in the Big Bash overseas, so it’s critical that he gets the chance to try that out,” Bailey continued.
In T20Is, Steve Smith is yet to start the inning for Australia. He started the inning in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the 2020 and 2021 seasons before joining the Sydney Sixers in 2022–203.
Initially, the right-handed batter hit back-to-back 50s, but after that, his performance suffered. He batted first and had a strike rate of 138.33 while scoring 166 runs in five innings.
George Bailey on Steve Smith’s elevation to the position of authority: “He was really keen to come across and be a part of that”
Steve Smith most recently appeared in the 2023 Ashes, where he finished second to Usman Khawaja in terms of runs scored for Australia.
Australia has selected their team for the series against South Africa as well as a preliminary roster for the 2023 ODI World Cup. Due to an injury, Pat Cummins will not play in the South Africa series, and Mitchell Marsh will take Australia’s helm for the first time.
George Bailey was happy to see Smith take his BBL successes to a global audience.
He was eager to attend and participate, which would necessitate that he take a break during a few of the one-day matches. He’s such a crucial player for us there as well, so we need to make sure he’s rested and can influence the one-day game as much as we want through the World Cup. However, I’m certainly happy to see him bring his Big Bash opening attitude to that role on a global scale.
Starting on August 30 and continuing for five ODIs, Australia will play three T20 Internationals against the Proteas.