'I think it's unfair' - Andrew McDonald defends Steve Smith for facing criticism as opener

Smith accumulated only 51 runs in four innings at an average of 12.75 in the recently concluded two-match series against New Zealand.

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Steve Smith. (Photo Source: X(Twitter)

Andrew McDonald, Australia head coach, has thrown his support for ace batter Steven Smith as the latter was facing criticism after failing to excel as an opener in Tests. Smith was promoted as the opening batter after he expressed an interest after David Warner announced his retirement from the game's longest format. 

Smith accumulated only 51 runs in four innings at an average of 12.75 in the recently concluded two-match series against New Zealand. His performance was one of the matters of serious concern despite Australia clinching the series 2-0. However, McDonald reflected on Smith's performance and is confident that the 34-year-old has a greater ability to fix things.

"That's not to say there won't be changes, but at the moment we've won two-nil here, and had a 12 Test run where we won eight with (four) of those being away (in England and NZ). It's going to be a hard group to infiltrate, it will take something special I think. No doubt everyone is still asking the question around Steve Smith. He is a great player and his ability to problem solve is one of his great strengths. He's been challenged in these conditions," McDonald was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

Also read: 'You love having guys like him around' - Ricky Ponting bats for Steve Smith's T20 World Cup consideration

"The surfaces have been new-ball wickets, and no doubt there will be a debate as to what his best position is. But he's up for the challenge, and I think any time that Steve Smith fails he sees it as a greater challenge. So walking away here with 51 runs under his belt in tough conditions, that will no doubt drive him for the next challenge and that next challenge is India. They await, and I think it will be an internal motivator for him. He wants to open, it's a position that he came to us around and we think he can make it work," the coach added.

The 42-year-old went on to say that the criticism against Smith is 'unfair' as he believes the latter does not deserve it. He also said that the opening position is another obstacle for him and he will deal with that.

Also read: T20 World Cup 2024: Mitchell Marsh likely to replace Pat Cummins as Australia captain

"I think it's unfair, and that will probably mean I'm going into defensive mode around my player. I don't think it's deserved. He'll be able to work through that, it's a new challenge for him, it's a new position. And if you're bringing in a new opener and you gave them four Test matches, and then said 'okay; we're going to shift that after four Test matches' would you think that's fair or unfair? I think that's reasonably unfair," he further said.

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