Tim Paine suggested that Steve Smith’s struggles as an opener might benefit opposing teams but also wished for Smith to succeed in the new role.

Australian cricket legend Tim Paine has weighed in on Steve Smith’s struggles as the team’s new Test opener, offering a perspective tinged with both criticism and encouragement.

Following David Warner’s retirement from Test cricket, Smith expressed his desire to move to the top of the order. However, his performance was underwhelming. He failed to score significantly in the first Test against the West Indies, with only a lone unbeaten 91 in the second Test. His struggles continued in the recent two-match series against New Zealand, where he managed a total of 51 runs across both Tests.

Paine’s comments suggested that he sees an opportunity in Smith’s struggles, “I look at it, that if I was playing against Australia, where would I prefer Steve Smith to bat? If I’m the opposition, I want him opening the batting. I want my best bowlers at their freshest with a brand new ball. I was in that Ashes in 2019 and went to England with him in another one and when he was at his best batting at four you just felt he couldn’t get out,” Paine told at ESPN’s Around the Wicket.

Despite acknowledging the potential benefit for opposing teams, Paine did not dismiss Smith’s ability to succeed as an opener. “I would love to see him succeed as an opener, I think he can, there’s no doubt about that, he’s good enough to bat anywhere, but as an opposition player, I want him at the top of the order because that gives me the best chance of getting him out,” he added. 

Australia coach Andrew McDonald, too, continued to back Smith, indicating that the team is not considering a change in his position due to Cameron Green’s impressive performance at number four.

Last Updated on March 14, 2024