Steve Smith has asserted that he is completely up for the challenge of negating short deliveries and has claimed that he won’t mind facing short stuff as it would tire the bowlers out and benefit other batsmen. Smith was earlier marauded with short balls by Wagner, who dismissed him four times.
On the back of an extremely successful Ashes campaign, Steve Smith was expected to dominate the Aussie summer of 2019/20 but that didn’t happen, as he failed to score a single ton. David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne scoring heaps of runs was partially responsible for Smith not getting enough hits, but New Zealand’s Neil Wagner proved to be the right-hander’s biggest nemesis.
In the three-Test series against Australia last summer, Wagner dismissed Smith 4 times in 6 innings with one simple tactic: bowling relentless short balls. Wagner being the machine he is, constantly aimed short stuff at Smith’s armpits and that proved to be a successful tactic, with the right-hander falling prey to Kiwi traps four times.
Thus, now, ahead of the all-important Border-Gavaskar Trophy, there is talk of the Indian bowlers using Wagner’s method as a blueprint to dismiss Smith, but the 31-year-old is unphased by talks of him boasting a ‘weakness’ against short balls. Speaking to News Corp, Smith warned India that replicating Wagner would be no mean feat, and further attested that he would not mind facing short stuff, as it would eventually tire the bowlers out and help other batsmen.
"It's no dramas for me. I just play the game and sum up the conditions, how they're trying to get me out and being able to counter that," Smith told News Corp.
"I mean, a few different oppositions have tried it and they've certainly found it more difficult to [execute it] the way Wagner did. He's got an amazing skill set where his speeds go up and down…everything is between your ribs and your head.
"If teams are trying to get me out like that it's probably a big benefit for the team because it takes a lot out of people's bodies if you continually bowl short. I've faced a lot of short bowling in my life and I haven't had too many stresses with it. I suppose we'll just wait and see."
Smith boasts of a ludicrous record against India, having averaged 84 against the subcontinent side in 10 Tests. His last Test appearance against India came in Dharamsala in 2017, where he struck an impeccable ton in the first innings.