Former Australia captain Tim Paine has slammed Michael Clarke for suggesting he doesn’t deserve a place in the T20 team after questioning Steve Smith’s omission from last year’s World Cup. Tim Paine admitted that Smith did not deserve a chance earlier but now after showing his potential in the BBL, he deserves it. Chief selector George Bailey announced that Steve Smith will open with David Warner in the upcoming T20I series against South Africa.
George Bailey argued that the 34-year-old’s two back-to-back centuries in the BBL have inspired him to be promoted to the top order.
Speaking to Sean Tassie, Tim Paine said that not including Smith in the playing XI for last year’s T20 World Cup was the right move by the management. The Tasmanian further claimed that the right-handed batsman’s strike rate was not what Australia needed from No.4 or 5.
“Steve Smith, as great a player as he is, no one will ever deny that, particularly in the lead up to that World Cup, was not playing well. If you go back to the Dubai World Cup (2021), people were saying why is he still in the team?”
“Then he was replaced by Tim David, which most people had no issues with and I think if you go even deeper than that, and you look at why he wasn’t playing… in his 20 innings leading up to that in T20, he was averaging low 20s at a very low strike rate and when you want to be batting at no.4 or no.5, that just doesn’t cut it.”
Sean Tim Paine further said that it is fair for Smith to get a chance at this level, but he should take advantage of this opportunity
“So to say it was embarrassing, I think it’s actually really clear why he wasn’t playing when he wasn’t playing and now he’s got a chance. It doesn’t mean he’s going to play all the time but he’s got a chance in South Africa to take his T20 form opening the batting into international cricket and if he can do that, he’ll keep playing.”
Smith played only one match in the 2022 T20 World Cup. However, he only scored 4 runs as the defending champions failed to reach the playoffs. The 34-year-old’s overall T20I strike rate has also been only 125.22.
Also Read: Former Selector Mannava Sri Kanth Prasad Backs Suryakumar Yadav’s Inclusion In 2023 World Cup Squad.
“You’ve Got A Spot Open Since Aaron Finch Retired” – Tim Paine
The 38-year-old feels Steve Smith has cemented his place in the T20I squad and believes he can fill in the shoes of the retired Aaron Finch very well.
Tim Paine said:
“You’ve got a spot that’s opened up since Aaron Finch has retired. Since he’s retired, Steve Smith – who has struggled traditionally in T20 – has gone back to the Big Bash and absolutely dominated as an opening batter and demanded selection in Aaron Finch’s spot, probably ahead of Travis Head, he would have been the other option to open the batting.”
The first of the three T20Is against South Africa begins on August 30th in Durban.