Before the first Ashes Test between Australia and England at the Edgbaston in Birmingham, Steve Smith was ranked fourth in the list of ICC’s batting rankings. The likes of Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Kane Williamson were above him. Smith was playing his maiden Test after more than 16 months and the focus was on him. But the Sydney-born didn’t allow the pressure to get to him.
In both the innings, he notched daddy hundreds and helped his team to a thumping 251-run victory. Even in the second Test at the iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, Smith scored 92 in the first innings. He didn’t bat in the second innings as he was ruled out of the game due to concussion and was substituted by Marnus Labuschagne. Smith was hit on the neck by a bouncer from Jofra Archer.
However, he has moved two places up the rankings, leaving behind Pujara and Williamson. Smith is only nine rating points behind Kohli, who is at the top. In the meantime, Shoaib Akhtar, the former Pakistan cricketer, said that both Smith and Kohli are praiseworthy. Even as he believes that Kohli’s determination has helped him, he is also looking forward to seeing Smith sustain for a long time.
Akhtar lauds Smith and Virat
“Kohli’s stats speak for himself. But Smith is a very big player and hope he can sustain it for long. But over the past nine years, Kohli’s determination and will to succeed has taken him far. He is a stylish and charismatic player and forms a complete package,” the 44-year-old Akhtar was quoted as saying in his official Youtube Channel.
Smith has been ruled out of the third Test, which gets underway on August 22 at the Headingley in Leeds. He missed the training session on Tuesday and was declared unfit. Hence, he won’t get a shot to close in on the number one position. Kohli’s next assignment lies in the Test series versus the Windies.
The first encounter starts on August 22 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua. In the ODI series, the 30-year-old racked up a couple of sparking tons and helped his team to victory. The run-machine will be keen to translate his white-ball form into the longer format.
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