Steve Smith's decision after defeats exposes his nervousness
Cricket

Steve Smith’s decision after defeats exposes his nervousness

Australian captain, Steve Smith handed over the captaincy to vice Captain David Warner for the remaining three ODIs and two T20Is in Sri Lanka. Smith’s decision surprised many and drew flak from his predecessors like Michael Clarke and Shane Warne.

But Smith said, “I hate missing cricket but I think in the long run having a bit of a break will do me the world of good,” Smith said. Yes, he has been playing cricket constantly for a long time.

The Australian selectors’ panel head, Rod Marsh, in a statement, said, “Steve has a large amount of cricket coming up in the next 12 months and we wanted to find a time for him to freshen up and these last five matches provide a good opportunity to do so.”

The captain needs a break 

Yes, Smith has played more than 500 days of cricket. Before the break, his competitive cricket journey started in Indian Premier League (IPL) with now suspended Rajasthan Royals. Since then he joined Australian team and scored 13 Test hundred, involved in 17 series. As a captain, he played 24 matches and played 83 matches as a batsman.

So, for a cricketer who is serving his country without a break needs a hiatus to come back as a refreshed man before the grueling winter starts which will be comprised of South Africa series, New Zealand series and India tour.

But, the question is: Is Smith’s decision to leave his ODI team midway through the series justifiable? Australia lost the first two matches following the 3-0 Test series defeat under his captaincy.

During the Test series, Australian batsmen crumbled against the spin bowling of Rangana Hearth and Lakshan Sandakan. Smith during the series looked visibly frustrated as his failure to play spin on turning pitches of Sri Lanka was exposed. Australian bowler Mitchell Starc bowled well, but Sri Lankan middle order’s resistance spoiled Australia’s early hard work and Australian batsmen weren’t able to give Sri Lanka a fitting reply because Australian batsmen couldn’t play spin.

Smith is not in a good form

Smith during the series was looking frustrated as his batsmen were vulnerable to the spin. Rangana Herath tormented Australian batsmen. In the last one year, Australia are the only side to lose against Sri Lanka. In 2015 Pakistan and India defeated Sri Lankan team which was without any big names, but this Sri Lankan team after the tour of England groomed themselves and utilizing the home conditions defeated Australia. Batsmen like Dhananjaya de Silva and Dinesh Chandimal rose to the occasion to make Australia’s work difficult.

Smith, after the grueling Test series during which he didn’t find his form, failed to counter the spin bowling. So could keep himself away from the limited over a game if he wanted. Smith during his last press conference in Sri Lanka said, “I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t replayed my dismissals from this series over and over in my head when I’ve been alone in my hotel room.” It is visible that he was tired of playing cricket around the months.

Steve Smith felt burdened about captaincy 

But, his decision was to continue after the Test series and then again found his team on the losing side, so he left his struggling team in the middle of the uncertainty. So, why his decision to leave the team midway through the series drew flake? The reason is not that he took a break. Because he needs a break, but the time and situation have raised a question about his decision. He didn’t make himself responsible for the defeat in Test series. But defeat in first two ODIs forced him for a second thought about the break. 
His decision revealed that he was shaken by the defeat against World No. 6 who in recent time have been going through the transition phase. But Australia who started this series as the World No. 1 lost the status following the 3-0 defeat. Smith’s personal form also created a confusion in his mind. In the Test series, his total score was 247 runs with one half-century and a hundred. In the first two ODIs, he scored 58 and 30 respectively.
 
As a captain, he felt burdened and as a batsman, he didn’t find himself in best of form; so kept himself away from the tour as he is not enjoying cricket and his batting.
 
As he wanted to take rest, he could do either before the limited over series or after the 50 over series. He has enough time to spend time with his family as the next tour in South Africa will start on September 27 and ODI series in Sri Lanka series will get over on 4th September.
 
Captains like Hashim Amla generally after this kind of series defeat made themselves responsible and give up the captaincy but Steve Smith who is captaining Australian Test side for the fourth series only doesn’t have any pressure from the selectors. But as a captain, he lost only one Test series and that is in subcontinent conditions. 
 
Smith failed to turn around Australia’s fortune in Asia. In the last two years, Australia lost nine consecutive Test matches. Under the captaincy of Michael Clarke, they lost six Test in Asia and three under the captaincy of Smith.
 
Smith thought about himself only, not about his team. A captain should not behave like this. He should have the mantle to endure the pain of defeat as when team win captain enjoys the credit. Now leaving the team to vice-captain David Warner who himself is struggling in this series will make Australia more vulnerable as players will lose their confidence as a sudden difference in leadership may make them feel vulnerable to the failures.

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