“Woh dus maarenge aur tu ek maarega… us ek me das ka vazan hoga’. Albeit, it could sound a bit bizarre that a batsman strolls back in after concussion, the name made me revisit my thoughts over and over. There’s only him, who could infuse life to the dialog from Salman Khan’s ‘Sultan’. He is the one, who could deliver a punch, laced with the power of ten. It’s possible, it’s Steve Smith.
Jofra Archer isn’t a fluffy stuffed toy. He’s nasty, baying for blood, raging to rip the head of whoever stumbles on his way. It wasn’t a gentle peck on the neck- the bouncer- it’s like a red-hot ramrod being whammed at full throttle. Nothing romantic about it, though Smith’s world would’ve turned upside down. Chills rushed down my spine, flashbacks of the Phillip Hughes’ story had me numb.
Archer gets under Smith’s skin, momentarily
Archer, earlier, got him into discomfort, smacking him on the elbow. This time, he went for the knockout punch. Smith was seeing the ball like a football, but that delivery was similar to an asteroid that destroyed his world. He walked away and in came Peter Siddle, who’s heartbeat would’ve outdone an F1 Racer, thinking about facing Archer. For Smith, he went off to a round of applause.
It was pretty sure that he was concussed, the focus was rather on his character. But then we’re talking about Steve Smith, isn’t it so? “There’s a lot of discussion after being hit, the concussion protocols are so strict,” Australia’s head coach Justin Langer said on Amazon Prime’s ‘The Test’. “He was adamant, there you go,” Langer quipped, wrapping his arms around a smiling and confident Smith.
Don’t you dare get him down, he’s Steve Smith
Surprise, Surprise! Siddle edged one off Chris Woakes and there comes Smith again, unshaken, with fire in his belly and eyes breathing fire. England, well and truly, knew that a half-fit Smith could give them nightmares in broad daylight. A dot followed by a couple of scorching drives, one over mid-on, the other over covers. Next time around, Woakes went for an Archer, only for Smith to sway away.
Smith backed them up with two more fours, one of which was a leg bye. The ‘Sultan’ in Smith was beaming at the Lord’s, but then Woakes cut short his stay, catching him plumb in front. There was no century, no raise of the bat, but there was a round of applause for Smith, the unbreakable bull, as he ambled back through the Long Room at the Home of Cricket. There’s your number one Test batsman.
March 2018: Hands on head, tears rolling down, his father’s consoling hands on his shoulders in a media conference- Smith was a wreck in the aftermath of the ball-tampering scandal. It was evident that he wanted to play the sport, don the Baggy Green again in the Ashes. After his century at the Edgbaston, Isa Guha’s words “Steve Smith is back” still resonates. He was indeed, back with a bang.
The Lord’s Test did ruffle his feathers, but he paid the Brits back with interest in Manchester, the game where he scored his third double in the format. Archer did catch him off-guard, but could never get him out in that series. Smith’s resilience could be the roadmap for many going forward.
The Sydney-man may not be the prettiest with the bat, but mightily effective. Reminds of another ‘Sultan’ dialogue, “Koi tumhe tab tak hara nahi sakta… jab tak tum khud se na haar jao. (Nobody can defeat you until you get beaten by yourself). The only person who could defeat Smith is Smith himself.
On this day, Happy Birthday ‘Steve Devereux Smith’.
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