'Comeback kid' Smith says focus now on batting

Melbourne, Mar 15 (ANI): Australia's 'comeback kid' Steve Smith has said that he believes that he has improved his batting performance from the show at Australia's home Ashes defeat two years ago which led to his drop-out from the squad.

Stating that he has always been more of a batsman than a bowler, Smith said that he has improved a lot in the last 12 to 18 months, by changing his technique a bit that has led to his stability at the crease, and making him more balanced and selective, the Age reports.

Smith, who was chosen to make a sixth Test appearance at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali for the third Test, said that he is tightening up his technique and also improved his spin bowling during net practice, adding that he hoped to be successful during the Test.

Stating that he had been training very hard for this tour, the young cricketer further said that players like him, who had been on the sidelines, have got an opportunity to practice their skills in the nets, adding that their practice time have paid off and improved their performances.

Smith, who had a mediocre average of 28.78 in five Tests and was dumped in the post-Ashes clean-out after last playing against England in Sydney in January 2011, further said that he had played in his first two Tests as a bowler, adding that it felt different to come in as a No.5 specialist batsman.

Stating that he has worked hard to balance his batting and getting more runs during his two-year break, Smith said that focusing more time on batting has taken a toll on his bowling, adding that he is working to improve it as well.

Suspensions to two alternative members of the Australian batting order - Shane Watson and Usman Khawaja - for breaches of team discipline -opened the door for Smith, who has been previously considered by selectors as an all-rounder but now has shifted his attention squarely on his batting, the report added. (ANI)