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Cricket, especially Test, requires Steve Smith: Ian Bell

"He’s averaging 60 runs in Test matches."

Steve Smith
Steve Smith of Australia bats. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

England’s Test captain Joe Root recently said Australia’s opener David Warner will need to be ready for a hostile reception if he is picked for the side that will take on the Three Lions in the away Ashes next year. It is expected that the Englishmen will try to put more pressure on their rivals in the mind-game, especially when the Kangaroos are without the service of two of their best men – Steve Smith being the other.

But another England batsman has a more philosopher’s take. Ian Bell, a prominent right-hand bat who has scored over 13,000 international runs but hasn’t represented England since 2015, is of the opinion that international cricket requires players like Smith and he said this in the wake of calls to reduce the year-long ban imposed on him following the ball-tampering scandal in Australia earlier this year. Warner, too, is under the same ban, along with another Australian Cameron Bancroft. Darren Lehmann, who was the coach of the Australian side then, also stepped down.

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Steve Smith is a good guy

“We don’t want to see ball-tampering in the game, but look, Steve Smith is a good guy, a good bloke, obviously it got to the point where it got out of control a little bit,” Bell, 36, told Gulf News at the DHL Swing Against Cancer charity golf series finale at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai on November 1.

Lehmann recently joined the chorus seeking the reduction in the trio’s ban (Bancroft is serving a ban for nine months) and now with Bell also supporting the clamour, there could be a fresh development on the issue in the near future. On Thursday, Cricket Australia chairman David Peever resigned after a scathing review report on Australian cricket.

Bell also said that for the sake of Tests, cricket needs superstars and there is a need for players like Smith to complement the likes of Virat Kohli, Root and Kane Williamson.

Smith, 29, average over 61 in Tests with 6,199 runs in 64 matches with 23 hundreds. He has been playing franchise-based T20 cricket since his ban.

“He’s averaging 60 runs in Test matches, is great to watch and is different technically than a lot of the other players, and that’s the kind of thing that’s great to watch in Test cricket, guys doing it their own way, so we do need him back in Test cricket in particular,” Bell added.

The Warwickshire batsman also said that England will want to beat an Australia featuring their best players.

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