Steven Smith's idiosyncratic technique with the bat and witty leg spinners has made him a star to watch out for in Australian cricket since his breakthrough at a very young age. Cricket Australia saw in him a potential to replace the likes of Warne and MacGill, However, it is his batting that took precedence and the selectors have been more than happy to realize his talents with the bat.
Smith made his debut for New South Wales against Western Australia in 2008. He steadily rose in reputation and was the second highest wicket-taker in the Twenty20 competition of 2008. After scoring four Sheffield Shield centuries and taking a career-best haul of 7 for 64, he was picked for Australia's tour to New Zealand with just 13 first-class games. He debuted against Pakistan in a T20 International in 2010 and bagged 2 wickets. His ODI debut was in the same month against the West Indies in which he was clobbered for 78 runs in 9 overs but still kept flighting the ball and bowling with an attacking mentality. His attitude impressed the then Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting who gave him his maiden break in Tests against Pakistan as a genuine frontline spinner. He didn't disappoint, bagging 3 wickets in the 2nd innings on debut. Smith has also been an active participant in the Indian T20 League, representing Bangalore, the now-defunct Kochi and Pune in 2012 and has been with Rajasthan since. Later that year, he was grabbed by Sydney Sixers for the inaugural Big Bash League, followed by the Champions League T20.
Many claim Smith to be one of the best fielders in cricket at the moment and he has indeed taken quite a few breathtaking catches during his career. Looking at his attitude and temperament at that young stage of his career was indeed commendable and Smith was already being touted to be a future captain-prospect for Australia.
He showed his potential during the Indian tour in early 2013, impressing the then-to-be coach Darren Lehmann. Subsequently, it resulted in him being recalled into the 2013 UK Ashes squad after being overlooked initially. Smith's career-defining moment came in the Oval Test that year, when he held Australia at one end with a fluent unbeaten 138. In the return Ashes Down Under, his twin centuries in difficult circumstances cemented his place in the Test side.
Later he played important knocks on Australia's tour of South Africa which were instrumental in the series win. In the 2014 auction of the Indian T20 League, Steven Smith was bought by Rajasthan where he played with countrymen Shane Watson, James Faulkner and Brad Hodge along with two more Australians. The turning point in his career came in December 2014 when he was made captain of the Test side in the second Test at the Adelaide Oval against India in the absence of an injured Michael Clarke. He showed his penchant for taking on responsibility by scoring a magnificent hundred in his very his first Test as captain.
The Test series turned out to be more than fruitful for Smith as he went on to become the first ever player to score centuries in every match of a 4-match series. He also ended up having the best aggregate during a 4-match series. It seems like breaking records is Smith's destiny. Cricket Australia will hope that his tryst with destiny remains unbroken.
Smith carried forward his golden run during that summer into the 2015 ICC World Cup as well, where he ended up being Australia's leading run-scorer. 5 50-plus scores in 5 innings which also included a century could be more than what any team would have asked for and 'Smudge' stuck true to his name - getting stuck on the wicket.
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