After tormenting India in Australia, right-handed batsman Steven hopeful of Royals fans' support
Steven Smith was a perpetual thorn in Team India's side during their four-month stay in Australia where they failed to find a way to beat the Kangaroos in the Test series, the tri-series and the World Cup that followed.
Rajasthan Royals' Steven Smith after a training session at Brabourne Stadium yesterday. The former IPL champions will play three of their home matches in IPL-8 at the former Test centre. Pic/Sameer Markande
The 25-year-old first mauled India in the Test series by scoring a century in each of the four Tests. The right-hander scored 769 runs at an average of 128.17. In the tri-series, which also involved England, Smith scored 226 runs in four innings, averaging 92.62.
He raised his performance in the World Cup, ending up as eventual Australia's top-scorer (402 runs in seven innings) as the co-hosts lifted the trophy. The lone ton (105) that he scored in the World Cup also came against India in the semi-final at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 26.
Smith, who also bowls leg-spin, is keen to mesmerise with his performances in the Indian Premier League, which kicks off tomorrow. In an interview with mid-day yesterday after Rajasthan Royals' practice session at the Brabourne Stadium, Smith talks about his incredible summer, his special performances against Team India, captaining Australia and the impact of the IPL.
On doing well particularly against India:
I guess I have played a lot of cricket against them in the last couple of years and I kind of get the rhythm against some of their bowlers. It is just about going out there each time, starting from the first ball and trying to build your innings. I was lucky enough to do that consistently.
On whether Indian fans will cheer for him in the IPL:
(Laughs) I am hopeful that at least Rajasthan Royals fans will support me and I can have another good season here.
On Ricky Ponting advocating Smith as Australia's next captain:
It is nice to hear those kind of things. It is Michael's (Clarke) team at the moment. I am just happy playing. I am really enjoying at the moment and hope to contribute every time. I am in no hurry (to replace Clarke).
On his incredible summer:
It was just about doing the same things again and again. It is about training the same way and doing everything that I normally do. Each time I go in the middle, it is a new day. Sometimes when you are in good form, you can get caught into the trap going in the middle and playing as if you are on 30 or 40 runs. For me, it was about starting my innings the same each time and trying to build it. It worked well for me.
On the transformation in India's bowling:
They have got some good performers. Umesh Yadav was one who stepped up and bowled really well. (Mohammad) Shami got a lot of wickets in the World Cup. Varun Aaron was not at the World Cup, but throughout the Test series I thought he was a good performer as well.
On distractions like Phillip Hughes' death and Clarke's injury:
There were a couple of tough periods throughout the summer and there is no hiding it. I think the boys just got on with it and did the job really well.
On being Australia's premier batsman despite batting lower in the order early on:
It's been a pretty surreal 12-13 months. I have enjoyed every moment of it. I personally have always seen myself as a batsman, and I got a couple of opportunities which helped me.
On the impact of IPL:
I have really enjoyed being involved in the IPL. It's been a great learning experience. I got the exposure to the sub-continent conditions. It is nice to be playing with and against the best players all around the world and learning from them. Another positive is that you face the same situations again and again. You play competitive matches quite close to each other. You might not do the right thing one day, but you face the same situation again and you might succeed then. The last couple of years have been very enjoyable. It is nice to contribute in a few wins first with (now defunct) Pune Warriors and then with Rajasthan Royals last time. It is great to be involved with them again.
On having Rahul Dravid as mentor:
He is pretty calm. That is one thing I have picked from him.
Smith's average against India in the recent Test series (769 runs)
Smith's average in tri-series involving India and England (226 runs in four innings)
Number of runs Steven Smith scored for Australia in the 2015 World Cup