Steve Waugh has compared Steve Smith's appetite for runs with Sachin Tendulkar and claimed that despite not being technically perfect, Smith's desire to score runs has made him a better player. Waugh also praised Smith for his aggressiveness approach be it while batting or in his captaincy.
After Michael Clarke's retirement from both ODIs and Tests in 2014, Smith was appointed as the full-time skipper of the team. The 28-year-old has led his team to 14 Test wins in 27 games. It was Smith's heroic knock of 141* on a difficult Gabba wicket that set up a 10-wicket win for the hosts in the first Test of the 2017 Ashes. While his performances got adulations from all around the cricketing world, former captain Steve Waugh reserved special praise for him by comparing him to the legendary Tendulkar.
"He is not technically a perfect player, but he has got that inner desire more to score runs, a bit like a Tendulkar. Once he gets a hundred he wants to go on and get a big score every time," Waugh stated as quoted by Cricinfo.
"I think he's pretty much an aggressive batsman with a good mindset. I think he takes it into the captaincy as well. He loves batting, he loves scoring runs and the other guys they like his leadership, they follow what he is doing.”
Smith has been in exceptional form over the last year or so, scoring 842 runs at an average of 64.76 in this year alone. When Australia visited India in February, the Aussie skipper scored an astonishing 478 runs while batting at No. 3 in four Tests including three centuries in testing conditions. However, at home, due to his impressive average of 61.10, Usman Khawaja was preferred at the No.3 position with Smith dropping a place lower. Waugh, however, believes that the current skipper could quite easily bat at the coveted No.3 role regularly.
"I don't mind him batting at number three. He is improving all the time. His last year has been quite phenomenal. His technique will tighten up a bit. But, he has got a great eye and he has got good placement of the ball.
"Never seen a batsman hit the gaps as well as he does. He has got really good hands and that compensates perhaps for his footwork not being as sharp as some of the other players,” Waugh added.