Head coach Justin Langer heaped praise on Australian batting superstar Steve Smith after his magnificent knock helped the hosts to win the second game of three-match T20I series against Pakistan at the Manuka Oval, Canberra on November 5, Tuesday.
The Aussie coach called the right-hander, who was adjudged Player of the Match for the wonderful knock of 80* laced with 11 fours and 1 six against Pakistan, a problem solver in the national team, saying Smith’s greatest strength is his ability to solve problems that only world’ best can do.
Langer told Cricket Australia, “Smith's greatest strength is his ability to solve problems, whether it's in Test cricket or T20 cricket. That's where he's so good at, the best players in the world do it. The best players adapt to white or red ball, or twenty-over or Test cricket.”
The coach continued, “He played beautifully; we know how good a player he is. He loves batting, full-stop. He wants to be out there. I think Manuka Oval is an amazing cricket ground, it was a great batting wicket and Steven certainly took advantage.”
Ever since returning to Australian folds after serving the ball-tampering ban, Smith has been brutally smashing the bowlers in the World Cup 2019 and Ashes 2019, where he scored more than 700 runs and now in the home series, though Langer feels he needs to improve in the T20 cricket.
Langer said: “Hopefully, he gets ranked one in all three formats, I think he'll be aspiring to do that. His Test series in England was incredible, his 90 (sic) in the semi-final of the World cup was incredible and the innings he played last night was sublime. He's getting better and better which is greater for Australian cricket.”
The coach also made it clear that his team’s greater focus is on the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2020 at home, saying: “There will certainly be a far greater focus on T20 cricket with World Cup coming up. It's a priority for Australian cricket, therefore you need to play your best players as often as you can.”
Langer signed off by saying, “I just love the way the boys are playing their roles. In T20 cricket, it depends on how your bowling unit plays and your fielding is also really important. Our bowlers have done a good job, squeezing the opposition. Our fielding has been pretty good, but that's an area we need to keep working on.”
(With Cricket Australia Inputs)