Steve Smith is our Virat Kohli, says Australia head coach Justin Langer

Steve Smith is our Virat Kohli, says Australia head coach Justin Langer

The penultimate game of the series will be played in Melbourne, starting December 26.

Justin Langer
Justin Langer. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Australian cricket experienced one of its darkest phases in its glorious cricketing history when Steve Smith, David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft were caught in the ball-tampering scandal. A miffed Cricket Australia had then slapped lengthy bans on the trio, banning Smith and Warner for a year while imposing a nine-month ban on Bancroft.

And while one should not undermine the importance of Warner as well as Bancroft to Australian cricket, the majority would agree that missing Smith would have been a huge blow for the team from Down Under. Smith was the batting mainstay of the team and was even called by many as Australia’s best batsman after the legendary Sir Don Bradman.

The numbers truly justify how much dependent Australia was on their former skipper. Before the ban, Smith had scored more Test runs than anyone in the world since 2013. In terms of centuries since 2013, Smith also leads the pack with 23, ahead of India’s Virat Kohli (22) and Warner (18). In fact, he had scored so heavily in the last few years that he is still number three in ICC Test rankings even after missing so much of action. Prior to the ban, Smith was the number one Test batsman since 2015.

Not surprisingly, Australia head coach Justin Langer compared the former skipper with India superstar Virat Kohli who is currently the best Test batsman in the world. Speaking to the media ahead of the third Test, Langer called Smith Australia’s Virat Kohli. “He’s our Virat Kohli,” said Langer ahead of the third Test. Smith and Warner’s ban will end in March next year and both the players are likely to feature in the World Cup in summer.

Series finely poised

Meanwhile, the ongoing four-match Test series between India and Australia is currently locked at 1-1. The hosts thrashed the world number one Test side by 146 in the second Test to level the series and give a timely reminder to the Kohli-led side that they are more than handful even in the absence of Smith and Warner.

The stage is now set for a thrilling finish to the series. The penultimate game of the series will be played in Melbourne, starting December 26.

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