Sachin Tendulkar has advised Indian bowlers to target Steve Smith on the fourth-fifth stump line than going for short-stuff. The former Indian batsman has also added that the absence of Virat Kohli for the last three Tests will be a big void though the team have good bench strength.
One of the most pondered about things in modern cricket is how to get Steven Smith out in Test cricket. With 7,227 runs in 73 Tests at an average of 62.84 and 26 centuries, former Australian skipper is the no.1 ranked batsman in ICC Test rankings with a lead of 25 points over the next best batsman in the rankings - Virat Kohli. Smith has a special affinity to facing Indian bowlers at home as he averages a whopping 128.17 with four centuries. He has made 769 runs in four Tests against India in Australia.
Sachin Tendulkar, who's also considered as god of cricket, has a solution for India on how to get Smith out. He has advised Indian bowlers to target the premier Aussie Test batter on the off-stump line keeping in mind his unconventional technique and also added that Smith is already prepared to face short-stuff.
"Smith's technique is unconventional...Normally, we tell a bowler in Test matches to bowl on and around off-stump or may be the fourth-stump line. But for Smith, because he shuffles, may be that line (of delivery) moves further away by four to five inches," Tendulkar told PTI, reported TOI.
"One has to aim between (imaginary) fourth and fifth stump for Steve to nick one. It's just a mental adjustment of line, more than anything else," the World Cup-winner said.
"Smith, I read, said he is ready for the short-pitched stuff...probably he is expecting bowlers to be aggressive upfront with him. But, I think, he needs to be tested on and around that off-stump channel. Keep him on back-foot and induce that early mistake."
Steve Smith has quite a few interesting trigger movements to his batting that enables him to get into best possible positions to play deliveries. A lot of teams try to target him with in-swinging yorkers given his trigger from leg to off stump but Tendulkar is of the thinking that for such a thing to happen, the wickets would need to have more life and more on offer for pacers, which is not always there.
"For that to happen, you have to see how much the ball is swinging. All those things matter. You can't use saliva, so it's a different case, if wickets have a lot more life. In England during the Test matches, on occasions, the Dukes wouldn't be swinging much. I don't know if they will have greenish wickets for the ball to do a little bit. If the ball doesn't swing. That swinging yorker, you might not even see."
Virat Kohli will miss the last three Tests of the Border-Gavaskar trophy as he will fly back to India for the birth of his first child with Anushka Sharma. Sachin, the only cricketer to have scored 100 international centuries, stated that it will leave a big void in Indian batting line-up but India's bench strength is good enough to deal with it.
"Virat not being there without a doubt is a big void but also on the other hand, the kind of bench strength that we have and the talent that is available, it is a good opportunity for somebody to establish himself," Tendulkar said.
Tendulkar also added that Pujara is a key part of Indian Test line-up alongside Virat Kohli.
"I would put Cheteshwar Pujara's name along with Virat. These two players have played together more than anyone else. There is Ajinkya Rahane as well but he has not played as consistently in the playing XI as Pujara and Virat," he asserted.
The Border-Gavaskar trophy will commence from December 17 in Adelaide and for the first time, India and Australia will play a day-night Test in their rich history of rivalry.