Steve Smith’s art of leaving deliveries is not for ones who are searching for aesthetics but the former Australian captain allowed a young Riyan Parag to take a sneak peek into his unorthodox technique during the last IPL which helped the teenager while playing Ranji Trophy.
The 18-year-old batting all-rounder from Assam, a key member of the Prithvi Shaw’s U-19 World Cup winning team, did make a mark for Rajasthan Royals in last IPL but there was a bigger takeaway — Smith’s batting tips for red ball cricket.
“Of course, I have had lot of chats with both Steve and Jos Buttler. They helped me a lot during IPL. When you are batting with someone of Smith’s calibre and 30,000 people are watching you, it gets a bit tough. He would advise me to be calm and not think about the pressure,” Riyan told PTI during an interaction.
But what was more important was Smith’s pointers to Riyan on the technique of playing red ball that helped him in the Ranji season where he ended with 492 runs for Assam, including a hundred and three half-centuries. He also snared 12 wickets with his handy off-breaks.
“I love the way Steve leaves the ball. You don’t just go by the looks of it but you’ve got to think why does he leave the ball like that. What is the reason? The bat is hanging out and body and legs are in sync, you see that not many players can leave the ball with their body. It’s a diffcult art that he has mastered. Luckily, I have imbibed some of it in my Ranji season after talking to him,” said Riyan, who appeared for his 12th standard exams this year.
So what exactly did Smith tell him about leaving the balls?
“It’s just not the bat (shouldering arms). He covers all the stumps while leaving the ball. That was an education for me as he told me how he does it. I tried copying him and tried leaving balls on the off-stump channel with all stumps covered.”