Gilchrist: Steve Smith rewriting coaching manual

Smith’s recent form is all the more impressive, given that he is making a comeback from a year-long ban for his role in the ball tampering incident.

Former Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist believes that Steve Smith’s unorthodox yet highly successful batting technique could force the coaching manual to be rewritten.   -  getty images

Former Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist believes that Steve Smith’s unorthodox yet highly successful batting technique could force the coaching manual to be rewritten.

“Years ago, Smith had a lean patch with the bat, and had to step away for a bit. He tried to change his technique, but later decided to stay true to his game. To stick to your guns when all the cricketing greats, coaches and textbooks say you are wrong – that takes real courage. And now everyone is watching him bat in amazement, and trying to learn from him. The textbooks on batting technique may need to be rewritten,” Gilchrist said here, at an event to announce scholarships awarded by the University of Wollongong to students of IFIM Business School here.

READ| Steve Smith: Rising from the Ashes

Smith’s recent form is all the more impressive, given that he is making a comeback from a year-long ban for his role in the ball-tampering incident. “Smith’s run is extraordinary, considering the sort of pressure he is under since making a comeback. It (heckling) was expected from the England crowds. Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft took responsibility for their actions, and served a very tough penalty. Smith has ultilised the time away to come back mentally tougher. Smith will never get those 12 months back; he is making up for lost time. He has handled himself very well,” Gilchrist.

Australia may be ahead 2-1 in the Ashes, but Gilchrist is not convinced that the team wears a settled look yet. “Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Marcus Harris, Cameron Bancroft - they are still finding their feet in Test cricket. I don’t think anyone has secured their spot in the Australian team, apart from Steve Smith. David Warner has had a very challenging series, and he will look forward to playing in familiar conditions back in Australia. We’re not fully settled on what our best top-seven batting order is, so there’s opportunity for youngsters to come in," he said.

READ | The Australia ball-tampering scandal one year on

Viable option
Speaking on Indian cricket, Gilchrist backed Rohit Sharma to come good if he is picked as a Test opener. The selectors meet on Thursday to pick the Test squad for the upcoming home series against South Africa.

“When the Indian team is playing at home, Rohit can most definitely play as an opener. It might be more challenging when touring Australia, South Africa and England,” Gilchrist said, “I love Rohit. We’ve played together for Deccan Chargers in the IPL. I think Rohit deceives people. By that I mean that since he is a laidback guy, people might think he is not working hard enough. In reality, he is world-class. If Rohit wants to be an opener, there is no reason why he cannot  succeed."