Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has said that in the present scenario, Virat Kohli is the number one batsman in the world because Steve Smith isn’t playing international cricket. “Right now, he (Kohli) is because Steve Smith is not there. (But) if Steve Smith was playing now, I’d have him as the number one player in the world,” he said at Channel Seven‘s cricket season launch.
Talking about Smith’s contribution, Ponting insisted that the right-hander has led the team to wins with his batting. “That’s how high in regard I hold Steve Smith – what he’s done the last three or four years with his game and (he’s been) able to lead an Australian team to so many wins the way he has (batted),” Ponting said.
Mentioning about last year’s Ashes series where Smith accumulated 687 runs in seven innings, the two-time World Cup-winning captain said that performing well in one of the biggest rivalries in international cricket tells a lot about Smith’s capabilities.
“The Ashes summer last year was just some of the best and purest batting as you’re ever going to see. To do it on the big stage in an Ashes series, and to do it on the first day of an Ashes series when it counts the most, says a lot about him,” Ponting added.
Smith along with David Warner and Cameron Bancroft are serving a ban from international cricket after being involved in the ball tampering scandal. Smith and Warner were slapped with one-year ban each by Cricket Australia while Bancroft is out of action with a nine-month ban.