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Michael Vaughan opines on Steve Smith’s place in the Australian T20I side
By SMCS - Feb 21, 2024 9:30 am
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Former England captain Michael Vaughan has said that Steve Smith must open the batting to play in the Australian T20I team. Despite having outstanding Test and ODI numbers, the veteran has struggled in the T20 format for Australia. Smith averages 25.69 at a strike rate of 125.17 in 65 T20Is. Following a breathtaking 2022 BBL season, he opened the batting for Australia in the first two T20Is against India in November last year. Smith scored a 41-ball 52 in the first outing, followed by 19 in the second as well.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith

Speaking to Fox Sports, Vaughan said, “I think his only position really is to open, because he has the skill in the game to maximise that first six overs brilliantly. He is a skilful player. But if he is not going to open, I don’t think he should play. If you are going to play him, he bats in the top two, and that is great. He will face 50 balls and get you an 80 or 90.”

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“If he is not going to open, I don’t see him having an impact in the middle order after the powerplay. You need people who can whack it into the stands from (overs) six to 20. He can do that once he is in, but I think he is a better player in the first six (overs) when there are only two men outside the circle,” he further added.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith

However, Australian T20I captain Mitchell Marsh said that the side will open with David Warner and Travis Head, followed by himself at No. 3 in the upcoming series against New Zealand. Marsh also shared that Australia will field different playing 11s in the series to fix the final combination for the T20 World Cup in June as well. When he was asked about his preferred opening pair for Australia in the T20 World Cup, Michael Vaughan picked David Warner and Travis Head.

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“I would go Warner-Head. You want to go ultra aggressive at the top of the order in T20 cricket. I think you go ultra-aggressive in your top three with players who can crack it. You have 120 balls … and you want your most aggressive players facing most of those balls. enjoyed the method of both the West Indies and Australia in that three match series and I think both teams are going to be very dangerous in the World Cup. I think a lot of teams … are all realising now that you’ve just got to be ultra-aggressive. Every now and again, you might have a rebuilder in your team, someone who can just knock it around, but … I think the way that the game is going, you need ultra-aggressive players all the way down your order,” concluded Michael Vaughan.