Steven Smith expressed the optimism that Rajasthan Royals would reserve its best for the play-offs © IANS
Steven Smith expressed the optimism that Rajasthan Royals would reserve its best for the play-offs © IANS

SS Ramaswamy

Mumbai: Australia‘s captain-in-waiting, Steven Smith, attributes calm demeanour and the repetitive process of getting ready for the on-field battle as mantras for his highly successful run over the last few years. IPL 2015: Points Table and Team Standings

“Probably just my patience and preparations. I am preparing the same way for every game, making sure I am doing the same things over and over with my routines,” Smith told PTI in an interaction when asked the secret of his success.

“When I get out in the middle I am starting the same each time and trying to build an innings, give myself a chance before I start playing any big shots. That’s probably the secret to my success,” he explained.

Smith, the scourge of India’s bowlers on the recent tour to Australia when he scored four centuries and two half centuries in the four-Test rubber for the Gavaskar-Border Trophy, felt the exposure of playing against these bowlers helped a lot in his preparations.

“We knew what to expect from Indian bowlers. A lot of their bowlers, I have seen quite a bit. It’s part of international cricket. It was just one of those things that every time I came up against them I managed to get some runs. It was a good [Australian] summer for me,” he said modestly.

The “good summer” fetched the boyish-looking Smith – who also excelled in the subsequent World Cup for champions Australia by logging 402 runs in 8 games at a superb average of 67 – a whopping 769 runs at an average of 128.

His four Test tons included a near double of 192 in the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in which he was also the team’s captain.

Smith, who captained the side after the first Test following a severe hamstring injury sustained by regular captain Michael Clarke, complimented the Indian side for giving his team a tough fight and singled out speedsters Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav as bowlers with potential.

“They [India] are a very good cricket side. They have got some good young bowlers coming though. I think Varun Aaron was one that really impressed me. The pace and aggression I guess he showed throughout was really good. Umesh Yadav was another one that’s got a lot of potential as well,” said Smith who scored a ton in each of the four Tests.

The 25-year-old middle order batsman, who started his career as a leg spin bowler before becoming a top class willow wielder, also credited T20 cricket – like the Indian Premier League (IPL) in which he currently plays for Rajasthan Royals – for developing the art of pacing his innings in the shorter formats.

“I enjoy playing any cricket. T20 cricket is great for cricket. It has certainly taught me a lot, particularly about pacing my innings when it comes to limited overs forms of the game and I think IPL has been great for that as well.”

“The youngsters get lot of opportunity to play in similar situations. It’s a terrific learning curve for any young player.”

Asked about chances of Royals clinching the IPL crown for the second time, Smith – who led the team in the first four games when Shane Watson sat out, expressed the optimism that the team would reserve its best for the play-offs.

“Yes, we have always got that belief. We started the competition well, being five [wins] from five [games]. So, hopefully we can continue to play some good cricket and play our best cricket, come the business end [play-offs],” he said.

Smith played safe when queried about the likelihood of him taking over the captaincy mantle from Clarke who has already retired from ODIs after leading Australia to their fourth World Cup crown.

“It’s upto the the selectors and the Board [Cricket Australia] back home. It was a really enjoyable experience to captain Australia in Michael’s absence. I learnt a lot. It was a terrific experience with a lot of leadership group around (to help),” he said. IPL 2015: Complete Coverage