To not recognize Steve Smith Veteran Australian wicket-keeper Ian Healy has criticized the national selectors as an opening batsman in white-ball cricket. The 33-year-old Smith scored 36, 101, an unbeaten 125 and 66 in four innings for the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League (BBL).
With David Warner and Aaron Finch not at their best, according to Healy, Smith’s ability as an opener is hard to ignore. After a terrible season in which the hosts were forced to quit the T20 World Cup early, Finch announced his retirement from ODIs late last year.
Steve Smith bats better than Aaron Finch and David Warner: Ian Healy
Additionally, Healy compared Smith to cricket star Don Bradman and claimed it was a “privilege” to watch the player bat.
When asked if he preferred Smith to start in the shortest format, Healy replied, “Of course, how could you not?”
“Who opened with (David) Warner in World T20? Finchy (Aaron Finch) was the captain. Both Warner and Finch are not playing anywhere close to Smith, so the way he is batting now, he has surpassed both of them in my eyes.” Healy told SportsDay NSW on Wednesday.
The 58-year-old went on to say that the selectors should consider Smith for the opening position in the 50-over World Cup in India in addition to T20 Internationals.
“We don’t play many Twenty20 internationals, so hopefully he does it (big scores in the BBL) for the next World Cup. Even in a 50-over game, I will open with him.”
Steve Smith: I feel privileged to see Ian Healy
Healy claimed that few Australian hitters had a technique that even came close to Smith’s.
“I think it’s a special opportunity to see him. When he’s out, seeing how hard the others are working, the disparity between him and the rest is incredible, it’s very Bradman-like. He’s doing it so easily and how he’s done it, he’s got a technical sense of what he’s doing — he’s talking about grip and everything like that, but I love his feet, his feet steady and his head steady.
“When he was at his best three years ago or four years ago, he was walking everywhere but when the bowler delivered the ball he was still dead, and his legs were set. He finds the middle of the bat incredibly often and it feels like a privilege to see him playing like this, he didn’t do it six months ago.