Mitchell Marsh opines on Steve Smith returning to the playing XI for 2nd AUS vs NZ T20I
By SMCS - Feb 23, 2024 10:20 am
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Australia T20I captain Mitchell Marsh feels there is a high chance that Steve Smith will play in the playing XI for the second T20I against New Zealand ahead of the 2024 T20 World Cup. Smith was dropped from the proceedings in the series opener in Wellington on Wednesday, February 21, as Australia registered a thrilling last-ball win. The veteran batter, who has been making his case as a T20 opener for a while now, had to watch from the sidelines as Travis Head and David Warner faced the new ball as well.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith was shocked after his DRS dismissal

However, Mitchell Marsh had earlier said that it would be difficult for Smith to find a place in the playing XI. However, the veteran batter will be given a chance in the ongoing series, which marks Australia’s final T20I assignment ahead of the marquee event – T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and the United States.

“I’d say he’s likely to come in. Heady (Travis Head) and Davey (Warner, his opening partner) were our first choice for this match, but there’s no doubt Steve will come into calculations for the next game,” Marsh said.“I understand that it always raises eyebrows when Steve Smith gets left out of a team but we’re certainly building towards the World Cup and we’ll give lots of guys different opportunities over the next few games,” Marsh added.

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However, after being snubbed for the majority of the 2022 T20 World Cup campaign, Steve Smith did well with his exploits for the Sydney Sixers in the 2022-23 Big Bash League (BBL) season, playing as an opener. He finally opened for the national T20 side during the tour of India in late 2023, where he scored 52 and 19 in the first and the second T20I respectively as well. He continued opening for the Sydney Sixers across the limited chances he made in the 2023-24 season.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith

“(It takes) complete trust in your game and a real confidence to go out there and do that. From the moment he came out he was really calm, he knew what we wanted to do and think he’s just learning and learning over the last two years. You’ve seen him dominate T20 comps around the world and come onto the international stage and feel at home playing for Australia. It’s special to watch and (I’m) very proud of him,” Mitchell Marsh concluded.

The second T20I between Australia and New Zealand will take place at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday, February 23.