Head coach Justin Langer was in awe of Steve Smith while watching him play during Australia’s first practice session here ahead of the World Cup, so much so that “it was like watching Sachin bat”. Comparing Smith to master blaster Sachin Tendulkar was a huge compliment that also sent out a warning to rivals teams ahead of the World Cup beginning on May 30.
Smith, who made his comeback with the IPL after serving out a one-year ban for ball tampering alongside opener David Warner, was in no mood to spare the bowlers in the team’s first training session following its arrival in England.
After smashing Pat Cummins for a six over third-man, Smith played another scintillating stroke off Nathan Coulter-Nile, that made Langer say “it was like watching Sachin bat”, according to cricket.com.au.
While Warner was on fire in the IPL, Smith found form towards the end of his team’s campaign. The former captain then joined the national team back home and made 89 and 91 in two warm-up games against New Zealand.
“As a batsman it’s brilliant. I watched Steve Smith batting against New Zealand in those three practice games, he’s literally a master of the game, so it’s nice to have him back,” Langer said.
“It’s been hilarious for me because whether on the ANZAC cove or in the lunchroom or we’re in the bus playing cards, he’s just shadow batting the whole time.
“He’s literally – he loves batting, he’s shadow batting on the sand, he’s shadow batting in the shower – I’m not joking! You should see him mate! He just loves batting. From that point it’s great to have him back,” said Langer.