Steve Smith wants to open the batting in Test cricket

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Steven Smith has thrown his hat in the ring to be David Warner‘s replacement as Australia’s next Test opener after confirming he is interested in doing the job if the selectors need him after Warner bows out of Test cricket at the end of the Sydney Test against Pakistan.

But it emerged this week that Smith was interested in doing the job and it is understood that he has raised the prospect of filling the position with the selectors.

Speaking to ABC Grandstand after the third day’s play, Smith confirmed he was keen to do it long-term.

“I’m actually happy to go up the top,” Smith said. “I’m pretty keen if that’s what they want to do. I’m sure the selectors and Ron [Andrew McDonald] and Patty [Cummins] will have a chat after this game but yeah, I’m certainly interested for sure.”

The selectors were hoping to get Green into the side after Warner’s retirement with McDonald previously stating that there were various options, including Marnus Labuschagne up to open from No. 3.

No one, however, had considered that Smith would be keen in the opener’s role given he averages 61.46 with 19 Test centuries at No. 4. He actually has a better Test average of 67.07 at No. 3 in Test cricket with eight centuries but he hasn’t had the chance to bat there since the two tours of India and Bangladesh in 2017 where he made three centuries in nine innings in vicious spinning conditions as captain.

Thereafter Usman Khawaja was drafted in to bat at No. 3 ahead of him and then Labuschagne took the role during the 2019 Ashes.

Smith is understood to be keen for a fresh challenge to reinvigorate him after a relatively quiet year by his staggering standards in 2023. Although he still averaged 42.22 with three centuries and made nearly a thousand runs, it was his lowest calendar year average since 2014 with the exception of 2018 and 2020 when he played very few Tests due to his ban for the Sandpaper incident and Covid-19.

The selectors are set to make a decision on who will replace Warner at the end of the Sydney Test, as the squad will disband for a week before reconvening in Adelaide ahead of the first of two Tests against West Indies starting on January 17.


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