Steve Smith Relieved From “Mr. Fix It” Tag, Now Will Play Freely

Steve Smith Relieved From “Mr. Fix It” Tag, Now Will Play Freely

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07 Jun 2022
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Steve Smith

Steve Smith has been relieved of the role of ‘Mr Fix-It’ as Australia look to unlock the T20 explosiveness of their underperforming star ahead of this year’s World Cup.

Smith started his international career as a limited overs player but now admits that despite Australia’s T20 World title win in the United Arab Emirates last year, his performance in the shortest format has not been up to the mark.

Mitch Marsh is now in third place where Steve Smith once played. The emergence of Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis as middle-order favorites has put a question mark on Smith’s place in the national T20I squad.

Smith’s perceived value was underscored when he was overlooked for the first time in the Indian Premier League auction earlier this year, having previously played in the IPL and captained the side. The right-handed batsman had a strike-rate of 107 in last year’s IPL and the upcoming World Cup, which doesn’t match his art.

However, he was playing the role of an anchor for Australia and it was not possible to play his natural game. Smith was instructed that if his big teammates did not come, he would be a banker in the middle-order. Will play the role and keep the innings intact.

But now, the Australian management has taken a big decision and given Smith the license to play freely. “I am very excited that the anchor tag has been removed from me,” Smith told cricket.com.au ahead of the opening T20I of Australia’s tour of Sri Lanka in Colombo.

“The Diva (stand-in coach Michael Di Venuto) actually told me the other day … They said ‘We’re getting rid of that tag, he’s gone. Just go out and play freely. Wanna smack the first or second ball for a six, go for it’.

“And I’m like, ‘Yeah, that’s cool’.

“So now it’s just about going out and playing freely and trusting my instincts, which I think have done well in any format over a long period of time, rather than being a little more reserved and Try not to step out, which I don’t. Don’t think of the right way to play T20 cricket.

“He’s got rid of that ‘Mr. Fix-It’ tag.”

The concept of T20 anchors was popularized at last year’s World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, where it was expected that the pitches spoiled by the IPL campaign would start to slow down and put more emphasis on skill and craft as opposed to raw power.

Kane Williamson and David Malan were appointed in similar roles for their sides, although the tournament turned out to be higher-scoring than expected.

The fact is that Steve Smith’s strike-rate is much better at home, having scored at a strike rate of 134 in the T20Is played there in the last six years. It will be a delight for Australia as they host the men’s T20 World Cup for the first time later this year.

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