Rhodes, Ganguly declare Steve Smith NOT the best batsman in the world
Following hot off the heels of an incredible individual performance in which Steve Smith averaged 110.57 during the 2019 Ashes series, ex-pros Jonty Rhodes and Sourav Ganguly have gone against the grain by deeming Virat Kohli a superior batsmen to the Australian.
Smith bumped his average up to 64.54 with a host of idiosyncratic scores that frustrated England’s bowling attack at every turn – the lofty average now leaving the Sydney-native comfortably clear of the Test average chasing back in second place, only behind Sir Donald Bradman’s unattainable 99.94.
Edgbaston: 144 and 142
Headingley: didn't play
Old Trafford: 211 and 82
The Oval: 80 and 23
7️⃣7️⃣4️⃣ runs at an average of 1️⃣1️⃣0️⃣.5️⃣7️⃣!
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) September 15, 2019
In the not-too-distant past, choosing the best out of Smith, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Joe Root seemed like the devil’s own work.
But with Root flattering to deceive amid the familiar failures to convert, and Smith pushing his average advantage over Kohli and Williamson into double figures, it seemed clear that the Aussie run-hoover has become the undisputed number one.
READ: Liebke and Bowden’s Ridiculous Ashes – Fifth Test: Mitch Marsh, No Balls, Steve Smith’s Human Frailty
Not according to Messrs Rhodes and Ganguly.
Speaking to the New Indian Express, fielding great Rhodes said: “I enjoy watching Virat Kohli.
“Steve Smith, with that action and technique, makes the ugliest hundreds I have ever seen but the man just keeps scoring runs.
“Someone who likes to watch cricket would want to say ‘Wow! What an amazing shot’ as opposed to ‘Oh! How on earth can he hit that?’
“So Virat Kohli right now.”
Those sentiments were (unsurprisingly) backed up by former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly.
The 16-time Test centurion initially appeared reluctant to plonk for Kohli, but in the end, couldn’t resist the temptation.
“These are questions not to be answered,” Ganguly told reporters on the sidelines of an Indian 25k race (via the Hindustan Times).
“How does it matter? It’s about performance. Virat is the best in the world at the moment. So that’s what makes us happy.”
READ ASHES FALLOUT
- England should move on from Anderson and Broad axis – Vaughan
- The spinners union unites – Leach reveals beer banter with Lyon
- Hussain, Ponting debate key Ashes moment; query Archer strategy
- Gower down but not out – the ex-Sky broadcaster on his next move
Joe Root shares victory call with fan who waited 10 months for team to arrive
England’s Test captain spoke with Rob Lewis, who has been in Sri Lanka since March, from a distance.
Sarah Taylor: Cricket had to fade away but I’m happy
Taylor has not played the game since retiring from England duty in September 2019.
Mickey Arthur takes hope from Sri Lanka fight after ‘unacceptable’ first innings
Sri Lanka posted 359 in the second innings to take the edge of defeat by England.
Joe Root looks ahead after England seal Galle success
Jonny Bairstow and Dan Lawrence calmed the nerves to secure a seven-wicket win in Sri Lanka.
Jack Leach weary but happy after long wait for England return in Sri Lanka
The left-arm spinner claimed five for 122 as the tourists closed in on victory in the first Test.
Sri Lanka v England Day 4: Frantic finale ahead as England chase down slim target
Jos Buttler’s stumping was a crucial moment.
England wobble in pursuit of 74 to win first Test against Sri Lanka
Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley and Joe Root fell in quick succession early on.
England chasing 74 to win first Test against Sri Lanka
Jack Leach’s five wickets ended the home side’s resistance.