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England v Australia

Steve Smith surprised by Joe Root’s T20I omission in England’s “all-out power” squad

Root Smith
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Australia’s Steve Smith is surprised by the exclusion of Joe Root from England’s T20I squad for their series in the UK next month, admitting that his team’s T20I gameplan is starkly different from that of the hosts.

Root was England’s highest run-getter in the 2016 T20 World Cup, but has since featured sporadically in the shortest format. He hasn’t been a part of England’s last four T20I series, which will be extended to five after his exclusion from the upcoming three T20Is against Australia.

“It’s a surprise. Joe [Root] is a terrific player across all formats of the game,” Smith told PA news agency. “I guess England are opting for all-out power and are continuing to go that way. Everyone’s got different game-plans and different ways to go.

“If everyone played the same it would be a pretty boring game. There’s a few ways to skin a cat and ours might be a little bit different to England’s, which might be a little bit different to India’s.”

Ed Smith, England’s chief selector, had earlier insisted that the “door wasn’t closed” in the shortest format on the 29-year-old batsman, who opted to play in the T20 Blast for Yorkshire soon after featuring in the Tests against Pakistan. He scored a 40-ball 64 against Derbyshire and followed it up with a 43-ball 65 against Notts.

Steve Smith, who’s featured in Australia’s T20Is regularly since his return to the team from suspension, said that England’s approach in T20Is is in contrast to his own team’s approach, where his role is to anchor the innings when bigger-hitters like Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch are at the other end.

“That’s the route they [England] have taken for now, but I guess we’ll concentrate on the way we go about our business. I know if I’m batting with someone like Maxwell or Finch, my role is to get them on strike and let them smack it.

“For me, it’s about hitting gaps, sort of playing an anchor role and fixing things up if the big boys don’t get out there and smack it. We all know our roles and I’m comfortable with mine.”

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