Steve Smith has carved out one of the all-time great Test careers for Australia, but he has one unfulfilled goal that he wishes to accomplish: a Test series win in India.
Smith was Australia’s best batsman on their previous tour of India, in 2016-17, when he stood a class above the rest, racking up three centuries as he finished up with 499 runs in four matches.
However, despite his brilliance, Australia conceded the series, as India snuffed out a spirited challenge by bouncing back from an opening defeat to clinch the series 2-1.
“I would love to win a Test series in India,” Smith told New Zealand leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, his teammate at Rajasthan Royals, in a podcast organised by the IPL franchise. “I think as an Australian cricketer, we talk about Ashes, which is always big, the World Cup is big, but I think now India is the No.1 team in the world and it is a very difficult place to play Test cricket, so I would love to win a series there. Other than that, I would not like to set too many goals, but take things day-by-day, series-by-series, just try to improve.”
Smith singled out Ravindra Jadeja as an especially tough prospect to face in the subcontinent, due to his variations and consistency in hitting the good length. Jadeja has made a career out of his relentless accuracy that has overwhelmed batsmen and forced errors, while his subtle variations have often coaxed breaks in concentration from batsmen.
“Jadeja in the sub-continent, why he is so good is because he hits that good length and one ball skids on and one spins, and it just looks all the same out of the hand,” Smith said. “I think consistency in length is key, and then having at least one variation. So I think for a leg-spinner, having a good googly or a slider is crucial, and for fingers spinners, being able to change the pace without changing the arm speed too much [is important]. I reckon there a few around the world who do that, Jadeja is one of them. He is very difficult to play.”