‘Steve Smith can break Brian Lara’s 400 record’ – Former Australia captain Michael Clarke

Former Australia captain Michael Clarke has thrown his support behind Steve Smith to step into David Warner’s shoes as Australia’s next Test opener.

With Warner bidding adieu during the New Year’s Test against Pakistan at the SCG, Australia now faces the task of finding Usman Khawaja’s new opening partner.

Several contenders from the domestic circuit, including Cameron Bancroft, Matt Renshaw, and Will Pucovski, boast prior international experience and are seen as potential options.

However, Clarke has advocated for Smith to take up the role of opener if he so desires, echoing a suggestion initially put forth by his former teammate Shane Watson.

“If he wants to do it, I think they will allow him to do it. Listening to Patty Cummins’ quotes, I think it’s a simple swap. I think Cameron Green is going to come in to open the batting for David Warner unless Steve Smith wants to do it. If he does, they might go Steve Smith to open and Cam Green at No.4 or Green to No.6,” Clarke said on ESPN’s Around the Wicket Podcast.

He also felt that Smith’s probable promotion at the top could buy him time to break Brian Lara’s highest Test score of 400 runs in an innings:

“He [Smith] is that good a player. It might be that challenge he’s looking for. If he opens, he will be the best opener within 12 months. Don’t be surprised if he breaks Brian Lara’s 400 record because he’s that good and now he’s got the whole day.”

During a chat with ABC Radio following the conclusion of Day three at the Sydney Test against Pakistan, Smith shared his enthusiasm for the new role, mentioning that he’s “quite keen” on taking it up.

“I’m actually happy to go up the top. I am pretty keen if that is what they want to do. I’m sure the selectors and ‘Ron’ (coach Andrew McDonald) and Patty (captain Pat Cummins) will have a chat after this game, but I am certainly interested. For sure.”

Smith is yet to open the innings in his 13-year-long Test career. With 9514 Test runs at an average of 58.01, including 32 tons, he currently bats at No.4, where he averages 61.50.

Australia squad for first Test: Pat Cummins (captain), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc.

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (captain), Travis Head, Sean Abbott, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Lance Morris, Jhye Richardson, Matt Short, Adam Zampa

NRMA Insurance Test series v West Indies

Tour match: January 10-13, Karen Rolton Oval (10.30am AEDT)

First Test: January 17-21, Adelaide Oval (10.30am AEDT)

Second Test: January 25-29, Gabba (3pm AEDT)

West Indies Test squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Alzarri Joseph (vc), Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Kirk McKenzie, Alick Athanaze, Kavem Hodge, Justin Greaves, Joshua DaSilva, Akeem Jordan, Gudakesh Motie, Kemar Roach, Kevin Sinclair, Tevin Imlach, Shamar Joseph, Zachary McCaskie

Men’s Dettol ODI Series v West Indies

February 2: MCG, 2.30pm AEDT

February 4: SCG, 2.30pm AEDT

February 6: Manuka Oval, Canberra 2.30pm AEDT

Men’s Dettol T20I Series v West Indies

February 9: Blundstone Arena, Hobart 7.00pm AEDT

February 11: Adelaide Oval, 7pm AEDT

February 13: Perth Stadium, 7pm AEDT

Leave a Comment