Australia is still trying to “unlock” Steve Smith’s chances as a T20 player, says team’s batting coach Michael de Venuto.
Although Smith may be one of the best Test batsmen in the world, the former Australian captain was part of an embarrassing batting threat to beat Sri Lanka by three wickets on Thursday and won their three-match T20 series with one game left.
Australia lost a few quick wickets, including Smith’s five off four balls, and needed 45 runs to win 5-80. But the T20 World Champions had plenty of overs left and the hosts had to bat to do well.
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When Smith was playing his first innings after the Test series in Pakistan in March, he underlined a consistent pattern in his display format that led to his omission from the last Indian Premier League season.
“The skill level is exceptionally high, so we’re definitely hoping to unlock it within this time,” de Venuto said.
“We (Australia in October) got a lot of games to lead in the T20 World Cup so hopefully we can see the best of Steve Smith.”
An exceptional Test batsman with a strong ODI record, Smith’s T20 results cannot be measured.
He has an average of only 25 and his strike rate is 125 with four half centuries in 56 matches. The 33-year-old has scored 14 of his four Twenty20 internationals this year.
De Venuto argued that Smith had been used in a variety of roles in the summer, but that the Big Bash League would succeed if there was an alternative in the future.
“Unfortunately, many of our best players do not participate in that competition because they are playing Tests,” he said.
“Steve has had success in the IPL over the years.”
Josh Inglis and Tim David knocked on the door to get a place in the team, but Australia will be with Smith for now.
The last match of the series on Saturday in Kandy. After T20, there will be five ODIs and two Tests.
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