A bouncer is not the right medicine to tackle the Steve Smith headache, Australia assistant coach Andrew McDonald has warned India. McDonald believes that the Australian is well equipped technically to succeed against such a strategy.
Against New Zealand in the 2019-2020 season, Smith was dismissed by Neil Wagner four times, as the left-arm pacer consistently attacked the batsman with short-pitched deliveries aimed at his body.
But despite Smith’s recent issues with the short balls, McDonald doesn’t think the Australian run-machine has any weaknesses in his batting.
“I know within a Test match he had that moment with (Jofra) Archer where he got him (at Lord’s last year),” McDonald said on Sunday. “But in terms of coming back off that, he was still able to score runs. Even in one-day cricket and T20 cricket, he’s been able to score runs with that plan being adopted by opponents.
“So, I don’t necessarily see it as a weakness… they can keep approaching it that way if they want.”
In recent times, quite a few bowlers tried to rattle Smith with short-pitched stuff and the Australian had also suffered concussion on two occasions after being hit on the neck and head respectively.
The Indians also tried to employ the short-ball strategy against him during the three-match ODI series in January, but the 31-year-old master batsman responded with scores of 98 and 131.
“They had a leg gully, a deep square and a deep man just in front of square and they had everyone up on the off-side during the Powerplay. So that’s a tactic they’ve used before, and it’s probably to negate the runs that he scores and to try and give themselves the best opportunity to potentially get him out in that area.
“But he was able to combat that in India last time… so he’s had that before and he’s worked his way through it. I see this series being no different in the way he approaches it.”
India play three ODIs, three T20s and four Tests starting November 27. The ODI and T20 series will be played in Sydney and Canberra from November 27 to December 8.
The much-anticipated Test series begins with the Day-Night match at Adelaide from December 17.
McDonald added: “They’ve used it before and he’s done well with it before, so I’m suggesting that plan hasn’t necessarily worked to its full effect.”
“He’s working on it as he normally would and there doesn’t seem to be any sort of deficiency there.”
The Indian attack will comprise Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami in lead roles. The visitors will call on Ishant Sharma if he recovers from the side injury sustained at the IPL. Umesh Yadav and the promising Navdeep Saini are also part of India’s Test squad.
Smith was not part of the previous series between the two teams as he was serving his one-year suspension for the ball-tampering scandal.