Steven Smith © Getty Images
Steven Smith © Getty Images

Australia lost 1-4 to England  in the recently concluded five-ODI series at home. To make matters worse, they have now won only two ODIs in the last one year. In pursuit of 260, Australia conceded the inconsequential tie by 12 runs. Skipper Steven Smith, who had a stunning time in the 2017-18 Ashes, failed in the ODI series and that led to Australia’s slump. Smith, rested for the upcoming tri-nation T20Is, stated that he is happy leading the side but advocated to play better cricket in limited-overs.

In the post-match conference, Smith pointed out, “We have been outplayed, we haven’t played good enough cricket. The batting collapses have continued, our starting with the ball has not been great. You can’t afford to do that against good opposition like England. It’s probably been a year since we have played good one-day cricket and we have a lot of work to do if we want to be a force at the next World Cup (in 2019). We haven’t been able to close out games. We were in a position to chase down 260. If we were being honest with ourselves, we let them back in the game. We are making poor decisions with the bat.”

Following a shabby performance in 2017 Champions Trophy, the defeat versus India, followed by the home series drubbing, Smith is now under pressure as limited-overs captain. Nonetheless, he isn’t concerned about it, and is content in taking the responsibility across formats. “I’m happy leading these boys. Unfortunately, I haven’t played as well as I would have liked. Me and Davey (David Warner) as the senior leaders haven’t stepped up. That really hurts your team when your senior leaders aren’t scoring the runs.”

Smith also felt for Warner, who will be taking over from him in the T20I tri-series, also involving New Zealand. “I hope he [Warner] will be okay. I’m sure if he’s not he will have a word (with management). South Africa is an important series for us (Australia’s forthcoming tour after T20Is), but so is the (T20I) series. We have got to play better white ball cricket,” added Smith.

On personal front, Smith would be relieved with the much-needed rest owing to a gruelling home season, including Ashes and the ODIs. “I’m looking forward to the rest. A couple of weeks to refresh and recharge, and get myself ready for a challenging South African tour.”

Australia will tour South Africa for three Tests from March 2018.