Australian coach Andrew McDonald defended Steve Smith’s performance as the new Test opener despite his struggles.

Australian coach Andrew McDonald came to the defence of Steve Smith, following criticism surrounding the batsman’s recent performances as the team’s new Test opener.

Smith, who transitioned to the opening role earlier this year, has had a challenging start. He managed just 51 runs across four Tests in New Zealand and also underperformed during the preceding T20I series. These struggles have led some to question the decision to move Smith to the top of the order.

However, McDonald remains confident in Smith’s ability to succeed in the new position. “He’s up for the challenge. I think anytime that Steve Smith fails he sees it as a greater challenge. So obviously walking away here with 51 runs under his belt in tough conditions, that’ll no doubt drive him for the next challenge. And that next challenge is India, and they await. I think it’ll be an internal motivator for him. He wants to open. It’s a position that he came to us around and we think he can make it work,” said McDonald, as quoted by

Coach McDonald defended Smith’s position as an opener, which was necessary to keep Australia’s strongest six batters and wicketkeeper Alex Carey in the starting lineup. This move allowed Green and Marsh to play in their preferred positions in the middle order, and both thrived in their roles during the recent New Zealand series.

While McDonald didn’t confirm any specific plans for Smith leading into the upcoming series against India, he hinted at the possibility of allowing Smith additional red-ball practice before the crucial matches. 

McDonald ultimately emphasised the need for patience with Smith, arguing that judging his performance after just four tests is premature. “I think it’s unfair, and that will probably mean I’m going into defensive mode around my player. I don’t think it’s deserved. He’ll be able to work through that. It’s a new challenge for him, it’s a new position. And if you’re bringing in a new opener and you gave them four Test matches and then said ‘Okay; we’re going to shift that after four Test matches’ would you think that’s fair or unfair? I think that’s reasonably unfair.” Andrew concluded.

Last Updated on March 12, 2024