WC 2015 AUS vs AFG: Steve Smith, an exemplar

DC | R MOHAN
Published Mar 6, 2015, 2:03 am IST
Updated Mar 29, 2019, 4:33 pm IST
Australia batsman sets example of how to throw away ton
Australia batsman Steve Smith in action against Afghanistan in Perth. (Photo: AP)
 Australia batsman Steve Smith in action against Afghanistan in Perth. (Photo: AP)

One interesting episode from the match in which Australia thumped Afghanistan was quite revealing. While a giant like Australia, fancied to win the title, did only the expected in handing out the biggest possible defeat to debutant Afghanistan on a bouncy Perth pitch on Wednesday, what was intriguing was the manner in which one of their batsmen got out.

Test captain Steve Smith - a leader but not captain in the World Cup as the long term skipper Michael Clarke is back after injury - proved to be an exemplar in the way he helped build the innings after the early fall of an opener and then threw it away selflessly when he was within sight of a World Cup century. He had run a hard three to the previous ball when one of the famous big basher colleagues played a stroke that did not reach the boundary rope.

 

Slightly out of breath, Smith miscued a lofted hit straight to mid off and walked off without any great show of remorse or disappointment at missing a landmark. Now, personal landmarks are not sneered upon by anyone in the game, but in Team Australia they keep stressing again and again that the landmark is not the only goal and that team priorities take over in situations that demand the suppression of individual keenness on landmarks.

Smith tossed his century away in trying to join in the mayhem a Maxwell or a Faulkner could create in the end overs after enjoying the best seat in the house in the course of the entertainment Warner was dishing out. Not long ago, it used to be the standing joke in Indian cricket that if a batsman scored an ODI century by taking his time over it, Team India would probably end up losing the match. The batsmen, intent on a landmark, would slow down so visibly after touching 80 that the overs would tick along without the slog producing the runs to potential.

 

Remember even the match in which Sachin Tendulkar scored his century of centuries, it was Bangladesh who won the match. This is just an extreme example of how individual landmarks used to get in the way of a more wholesome team performance.

The landmark syndrome does not affect India so much these days, but there are still occasions on which it has got in the way of a team triumph or seriously jeopardized it.

If team India, who are also playing in Perth and have been stationed there for a while after their win over UAE, learns a lesson from Smith, and have watched the Australia match and picked up the nuance of the dismissal, their chances of retaining the World Cup would be enhanced even more.

 

 

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