Misbah-ul-Haq’s Pakistan focus on Steve Smith’s ‘blind spot’ ahead of Gabba Test
Smith is in the form of his life, notching runs both at international and first-class cricket.
Published - Nov 19, 2019 8:04 pm | Updated - Nov 19, 2019 8:04 pm
Back in the 2019 Ashes, England had to bear the brunt of Steve Smith, who turned out to be the leading run-scorer of the series by a country mile. Despite returning to Test cricket after 16 months, Smith took only three innings to get back his number-one ranking, taking himself up from fourth. Such was his dominance that even after suffering concussion, he managed to get a double ton.
Smith’s next assignment is a two-match Test series against Pakistan and the visitors would need to pull out something special to stop the juggernaut. The 30-year-old Smith is in good form as in his last competitive match, playing for New South Wales, he got 103 in Sydney. It goes without saying that the focus will again be on Smith and how Azhar Ali’s Pakistan strategize to pin the big fish.
Misbah wants Pakistan bowlers to be consistent
However, Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan coach, feels that like every other leading batsman, even the Sydney-born Smith would be having a ‘blind spot’. “As far as Steve Smith goes, there’s a blind spot for every top batsman in the world; as a bowler you’re always interested in pitching the ball there,” Misbah was quoted as saying in ESPNcricinfo.
Misbah highlighted the vitality of being consistent in hitting the right channels in order to build pressure. “It’s important that we bowl with consistency there. Our bowlers are executing the plans very well right now, and hopefully, we’ll be able to build that kind of a pressure, and stay disciplined especially early in the innings,” Misbah, also a former Pakistan cricketer, added.
Misbah understands that pressure can even churn out mistakes from the best. “No matter how good a batsman is batting, it’s about consistency and bowling the maximum balls in those areas that build pressure and the batsman respects you, and you force him to make a mistake,” the veteran added.
Smith currently has a Test average of 64.56, which is only second to the legendary Sir Donald Bradman. Smith is also approaching 7,000 Test runs. The opening Test is scheduled to get underway on November 21 at the Gabba in Brisbane and it won’t be a surprise if Smith reaches the milestone in that game itself. The second Test will take place at the Adelaide Oval, starting November 29.