There hasn’t been much cricket on the go this week (thanks, Indian weather!), so technically this should be our Player of the Fortnight, and in honour of such a rare title, we’re giving it to a guy with rare talent.
Australia all-rounder Steve Smith wins our coveted gong (the word ‘week’ has been covered with masking tape and ‘fortnight’ written on with marker pen) for both his batting efforts as well as his fielding genius.
In the ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE, which the Aussies won three-nil, Devereux, as he’s lovingly known on Twitter, finally managed to break his ODI century drought, after 39 attempts and four years.
He scored a superb 101 in Sharjah, when the rest of the Aussies struggled in the immense heat, and saw his side to a defendable 255. His bowling colleagues then did the job later on, as they won the game by 93 runs.
Smith’s ton came off 118 balls and featured two sixes, but was notable for its progression, as he compiled the knock with impressive calm and maturity, spanning five partnerships and keeping the innings from falling apart.
He followed that game up with a 77 in the third ODI, without which Pakistan would have won. As it was, the Aussies scraped a one-run win as they defended 231, which they only got thanks to Smith and David Warner’s half tons at the top.
Smith finished as the series’ leading run scorer by a significant margin, and was the only player to score more than 80 in a knock, let alone a century.
Aside from that though, he was in the headlines because of his catch to remove Fawad Alam in the final game. He started at slip, saw Fawad was moving to sweep, to Smith ran around to the leg side while the ball was being delivered, and took the catch.
It was genius because, unlike a lot of players, he knew about a change in the laws, only recently made, which said a close in fielder was now allowed to respond to a batsman’s movements and anticipate where the ball would go. Sneaky bugger, we love it!
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