‘Boys are laughing about it’: Smith reveals new weakness, vows to justify his Test spot


Steve Smith says he’s in no hurry to follow David Warner into retirement, and is adamant he doesn’t need to make any major changes in order to rediscover his run-scoring ways.

Warner, 37, will retire from Test ranks at the conclusion of the three-Test series against Pakistan, which begins in Perth on Thursday.

Smith is three years younger than Warner, but is coming off a lean period by his lofty standards.

From the beginning of 2023, the 34-year-old has averaged just 43.2 across 11 Tests, and 31.4 in 16 ODIs, and is no longer a part of Australia’s first-choice T20 side.

Those figures are well below his career averages in Test (58.61) and ODI (43.54) cricket.

Warner’s retirement plans have dominated headlines over the past week following a scathing column from Mitchell Johnson in which the former pace ace questioned whether the veteran opener deserved a farewell tour given his role in the Sandpapergate saga.

Steve Smith of Australia reacts after being struck on the finger in the nets during an Australia Nets Session at Edgbaston on June 14, 2023 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Although Smith is in the back end of his career, he has no plans to walk away any time soon.

“I just take it day by day and enjoy my time playing,” Smith told reporters on Tuesday. 

“And while I’m enjoying it I’ll keep playing. I’m not in any hurry to make any decisions or anything. 

“I’m pretty relaxed and looking forward to the summer.”

And what’s his solution to fixing a rare form dip in his glittering career?

“Just score runs,” Smith said with a smile.

“I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I think I’ve performed at a high standard for a long period of time. 

“And you’re right, I was probably below my standards of what I want (this year). 

“So for me, it’s not overthinking it, not overplaying too much, not changing too much, just going out and trusting what I do and doing it for longer periods of time.”

Asked about Johnson’s criticism of Warner, Smith steered clear of the controversy.

“I mean, everyone in the media is entitled to their opinion,” he said.

“But you know, I’m not buying into anything that is going on between those two, so I’ll stay out of that one.”

Smith enjoyed a rare week off following Australia’s ODI World Cup triumph in India.

He also revealed a new hobby that he has used to refresh his mind – golf.

While most of the Australian team are huge fans of golf, Smith is a relative newcomer to the sport.

“I’m ordinary,” he said with a laugh.

“I’m sure the boys are continually laughing about it at the moment that I’m getting into golf. I’m just starting though, so give me time. 

“It’s been a busy, busy year. I certainly needed a little break after the World Cup and it was good to just have a week at home and relax and try and refresh the mind and body as much as possible to get ready for this series.

“But I feel like I’m in a good place. I think the boys feel like they’re in a good place and are keen to get out and play some red-ball cricket again.”

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