Australia’s best Test batsman since Sir Donald Bradman, Steven Smith seems to have finally found a way to succeed in the shortest format of the game. The 33-year-old has had quite a week in the ongoing 2022-23 Big Bash League.
Opening the innings for Sydney Sixers, Smith started his season with a score of 36 against Perth Scorchers, but what he did in the last two games has forced everyone to sit up and take notice.
The right-hander smashed his maiden T20 century (56-ball 101) against Adelaide Strikers and then smoked 125* off 66 against Sydney Thunder on Saturday to prove everyone that his first knock was no fluke.
Prior to this week, Smith had only 14 sixes in his BBL career but has hammered 18 in his last three encounters, and now has the same number of maximums as Tim David and Matt Short who have played 12 and 13 games respectively.
"I've just brought my hand around a little bit so I'm a bit more open (with my grip) and I'm a bit more side on (in my stance). It just opens my bat face a bit," he explained after Sydney Sixers hammered Sydney Thunder by 125 runs.
"If you look at some of my footage from 12 months ago (back to) four or five years probably, during that period I was quite closed with my (bat) face, which probably didn't enable me to hit the ball as big. I was probably top spinning it as opposed to back spinning it and letting the ball go up and away further.
"I thought I back spun a couple of nice ones tonight. The ball just travels a lot better when you do that. It's been a nice adjustment for me (and) I feel like I'm batting well in all forms of the game. Hopefully I can continue scoring some runs and helping firstly the Sixers and then the Aussies after that."
Smith was hardly used when Australia won the 2021 T20 World Cup and then ended up warming the bench in the 2022 edition as the management preferred Tim David over him. Smith feels the technique tweak is allowing him to slice the ball to gaps easier, and is also enjoying batting up the order.
"It's working well so far. I feel like I'm in a good place at the top of the order. It's a role I haven't done a great deal of, I did it a couple of times (previously) in the IPL and did OK. It's a place I think most people probably enjoy batting," said Smith.
Smith also revealed that he had battled spasming in the nets before the match got underway but it was nothing serious. "I spent most of the pre-game on the table just doing extensions," he said.
"I was fortunate I didn't have to run too many tonight; it came off the middle of the bat pretty consistently so it was it was a good night, I really enjoyed it. I'm struggling to get upright, I can bend down alright. But it probably helped me in my batting and kept me a bit lower in my shots for a bit longer on that wicket."