Former Australia opener Chris Rogers has lavished praise on his former teammate Steve Smith, saying that the batsman is in the league of the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, and AB de Villiers. Smith hit the ground running on his Test comeback after serving the one-year ban imposed on him for the ball-tampering scandal. The 16-month absence from Test arena did not affect him at all as he starred for Australia in the first Ashes Test.
The former Australia batsman, who was the world number one Test batsman before the ban, scored 144 and 142 in the first Ashes Test. In the first innings, Australia were reeling at 122 for 8 when Smith’s century helped them post 284. In the second innings, Smith struck another century as Australia set England an improbable target of 398. Australia then bowled out England for just 146 to win the match by 251 runs.
“He [Smith] is right up there. I was lucky enough to play against Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, and AB de Villiers. All of them were exceptional. Smith is in that league,” Rogers told reporters as quoted by India Today in Chennai.
Rogers went on to say that he did not expect Smith to be this good when he saw him play in 2013. It should be noted that Smith had started his international career as a leg-spinner who could bat a bit. His turnaround as a specialist batsman is absolutely remarkable. Smith is creating his own legacy in Test cricket.
“What he is doing is fantastic too. When I played with him in 2013, I did not expect him to be in such a position,” said Rogers who is at the MRF Pace Foundation as head coach of the CA National Performance Squad.
Praise for Lyon
Chris Rogers also had some praise for his former teammate and current Australia spin spearhead, Nathan Lyon. Like Smith, Lyon starred for the Aussies too in the Ashes opener. The off-spinner picked up six wickets in the second innings and nine overall in the game to help Australia take the lead.
“It is pretty incredible where he has got and where he might get to. The amount of improvement he has made as an off-spinner.. now he is bowling sides out regularly. There are not too many other spinners Australia would swap Nathan Lyon with,” he said.
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