Melbourne : Australian great Ricky Ponting is concerned about top-order batter Steve Smith’s indifferent form as the team gears up for the gruelling Border-Gavaskar series in India early next year, and believes that while the cricketer’s technically look sound, opposition teams may have found a way to stop him.
Smith’s form is vital as Australia aim to secure the World Test Championship (WTC) final berth and the series against India will play a huge role in deciding the team’s qualification for the second edition of the WTC final.
“The best way to describe it is, it (Smith’s form) has been indifferent,” Ponting told The ICC Review on Friday.”For four or five years, he has been so incredibly consistent, making consistently high scores, making four, five or six hundreds in a Test match calendar year and he hasn’t been able to do that in the last couple of years.
I have watched him quite closely, and I don’t think there is anything technically there that has changed too much,” opined Ponting.While Smith, the former Australia skipper, may have broken his 18-month century drought during the second Test against Sri Lanka in Galle, Ponting feels rival teams have perhaps found ways to “slow” the charismatic cricketer down.
“Opposition teams maybe have finally started to work out the way they can slow him down from scoring quickly or have found some ways to attack him and get him out. But knowing Steve and how well he prepares himself and how deeply he thinks about his game, I don’t think it’s going to be too long before you see him back there scoring heavily again,” added Ponting.
While Smith has 28 Test tons to his name, only two of those have come since the Ashes series in England in 2019 and his unbeaten 145 against Sri Lanka earlier this month was the first time he had reached triple figures since his superb hundred against India at the start of 2021.
Smith has scored seven half centuries during that span and Ponting said the 33-year-old is not consistently producing as many high scores as he would like to.