Steve Smith best since Don Bradman: Coach
Brisbane, Sep 18: Steve Smiths formative coach Trent Woodhill feels that if the star Australian was playing for India, his technique would not be the focus of discussion as much as it is in Australia.
"If Steven was Indian, his technique and mechanics and the strategy around his batting would just be accepted," Woodhill was quoted as saying in ESPNcricinfo.
"We see Kohli, Gavaskar, (Rohit) Sharma, Ganguly, Sehwag -- all these players have unique techniques. The Indian system is all about output, about scoring runs, ‘We don't care how you do it as long as you do it', whereas in Australia we wanted you to score well and we wanted you to look good."
Smith helped Australia retain the Ashes by amassing a record 774 runs at an average of more than 110 that included three centuries and as many fifties. The series was drawn 2-2.
But in the Australian media, there were talks about his technique and especially the way he left the ball which was not copybook.
Woodhill said young players need protection from outside and inside.
"Young players need protection from both themselves and others who don't like difference. A cricket dressing room can be a brutal place for a young player, who might be forced to conform -- more so in Australia than any other country I've been in.
"In Australia we struggle with things that are different. We like a sexy Shaun Marsh thirty, made with a conventional, attractive technique, rather than an unconventional Steven Smith hundred."
While talking about unconventional approach, he also cited Indian spin legend Anil Kumble and Afghanistan's star wrist spinner Rashid Khan.
"Other nations just find a way to accommodate such players. Like a Rashid Khan, who holds the ball like an off-spinner but bowls leg-spin, an Anil Kumble -- seam-up, wristspin, predominantly wrong'un.
"Australian cricket likes to pass the baton on: this is how you do it, this is how it's always been done. Steven's come along, and to some extent, David Warner's come along and said, ‘No, we're gonna do it this way now', and they've had a lot of success," Woodhill observed.
He called Smith the best since the legendary Sir Donald Bradman.
"The old guard, the older Test greats, still can't understand how it works. So they still think, especially bowlers, ‘Well, if I was bowling, I'd sort this guy out'.
"And that's the thing with cricket, especially in England and Australia: ‘If I can't understand how it looks, it can't work'.
"Steven has proven them wrong. He's the best since Bradman; this is not even an argument anymore."