Smith: 'Not bothered if we are favourites or underdogs'

"It is a game of cricket, 1-1 in the series and everything to play for in this game. I’m just focussed on controlling what we can and take it one ball at a time,” said the Australian skipper Steve Smith on the eve of the final Test.

Steven Smith during a practice session in Dharamsala on Friday.   -  Reuters

Australia captain Steve Smith expects Ajinkya Rahane to lead India in case Virat Kohli is ruled out of the Test here. “I think they’ll be fine. I think Ajinkya Rahane will probably step up to captain their side. I thought he did a pretty good job last week when he was out on the field in Virat’s absence, so, I’m confident he’ll be able to do a good job for them.”

How different is Rahane from Kohli? “He’s probably a bit more chilled out, out on the field? Probably not quite as emotional, but no, look, I think he understands the game really well. I’ve been fortunate enough to play a fair bit of cricket with Ajinkya, and he understands the game really well. If Virat was to miss this Test match, then I’m sure the Indian side will still be in very good hands.”

Reflecting on the team’s performance in the series, Smith noted, “We’ve worked very hard, guys have been pretty clear in the way they’ve wanted to play and the game plans they’ve been able to formulate. For me, the most pleasing thing is we’ve been able to take it out in the middle. We’ve talked a lot, for many years, and we’ve said the right things and we’ve got plans in place, but once we’ve got out in the middle, we haven’t been able to put them together.”

On the pitch, Smith observed, “Although there is some grass out there, it still looks a bit dry underneath. I think it’ll take a reasonable amount of spin as the game goes on.”

On being the favourite here, Smith responded, “I’m not really bothered if we are the favourites or underdogs to be honest. It is a game of cricket, 1-1 in the series and everything to play for in this game. I’m just focussed on controlling what we can and take it one ball at a time.”

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