Michael Vaughan, on the back of Steve Smith’s bizarre dismissals in RR’s last three games, has opined that the RR skipper needs to tone down his aggression and adopt a conservative approach. After posting fifties in RR’s first two games, Smith has been dismissed for 3, 5 and 6 in their last three.
In 81 IPL matches Steve Smith had played prior to the commencement of the 2020 season, the Australian was seen as an accumulator who can bat long and hold the innings together. That was believed to be his designated role in the Rajasthan Royals side, too, and the 31-year-old did it to perfection in his side’s season-opener versus CSK, against whom he scored a 47-ball 69. However, a 27-ball 50 in RR’s second game versus KXIP rewired Smith’s brain and gave him the false impression that he was an ‘aggressor’ and, ever since, in pursuit of scoring quick runs, the RR skipper has lost his way.
The right-hander, in each of his three previous knocks, has been dismissed trying to aimlessly slog the new ball and his new-found approach has left fans, opponents and his own teammates in disbelief. Speaking in Cricbuzz LIVE about Smith’s approach, former English batsman Michael Vaughan opined that the 31-year-old needs to tone down his aggression and go back to being an accumulator. Vaughan noted that Smith can do better than slogging the new ball and attested that him batting for a long period of time would allow the other hitters in the RR side to express themselves.
“I think Smith has to get back to the way he played in the first two games, which was with a lot of control. Last two games, he’s given the impression that he wants to hit a boundary every single ball. He’s a better player than that,” Vaughan said on Cricbuzz LIVE.
“With the way he plays and with the structure of the RR side, the team would want Smith to bat a majority of the innings. He just needs to get 60 or 70 runs off 55 balls, he does not need to bat a strike rate of 160 or 170. Smith scoring at 120 or 130 will allow the other big-hitters to play their natural game.”
After being touted for wooden spoon prior to the start of the season, the Royals made experts eat humble pie in their first two games of the season, winning both handsomely, but have since lost their way. Smith and Co. have lost each of their last three games but on Friday, will return to the mighty Sharjah, where they have a 100% record this season.
Vaughan reckoned that RR will have to take their game to the next level to stand a chance versus an extremely strong Delhi side and noted that the 2008 champions could find themselves in deep waters should they fail to win Friday's encounter.
“I just worry for the Rajasthan Royals. If they lose versus Delhi, it’s going to be a big gap. There will be themselves and Kings XI looking above with so many points to try and make up. They need a team performance.
“I don’t think an individual performance (like Pooran versus SRH) will be enough to beat Delhi. Delhi look like the team to beat, they look like they’ve got everything covered. RR right now have 3 players in form and 8 out of form, but you’re not beating Delhi unless you have eight players in form.”