Although the short ball has thwarted Steve Smith on several occasions over the last 18 months, Australian assistant coach Andrew McDonald is not fazed by a potential bouncer barrage from the Indians this summer.
After Smith was struck in the neck during the 2019 Ashes series, several bowlers have attempted to derail the No. 1 Test batsman with short-pitched bowling directed at the body.
The tactic proved an effective strategy for the New Zealanders last summer, with left-armer Neil Wagner regularly dismissing Smith with bouncers.
The 31-year-old then suffered a second concussion in September after he was struck in the head during a net session in England.
Despite Smith’s ongoing issues with the short ball, McDonald does not consider it a weakness in his batting.
“I know within a Test match he had that moment with Archer where he got him,” McDonald said on Sunday.
“But in terms of coming back off that, he was still able to score runs. Even in one-day cricket and T20 cricket, he’s been able to score runs with that plan being adopted by opponents.
“So, I don’t necessarily see it as a weakness … they can keep approaching it that way if they want.”
Along with international duties, McDonald also coached Smith’s Rajasthan Royals in the recent Indian Premier League.
Steve Smith of Australia defends a bouncer.Source:AAP
India trialled a bouncer barrage on Smith during the three-match ODI series in January, but the Australian maestro responded with scores of 98 and 131.
“They had a clear plan early on in the innings,” McDonald said. “They had a leg gully, a deep square and a deep man just in front of square and they had everyone up on the off-side during the Powerplay.
“So that’s a tactic they’ve used before, and it’s probably to negate the runs that he scores and to try and give themselves the best opportunity to potentially get him out in that area.
“But he was able to combat that in India last time … so he’s had that before and he’s worked his way through it. I see this series being no different in the way he approaches it.
“They’ve used it before and he’s done well with it before so I’m suggesting that plan hasn’t necessarily worked to its full effect.
“He’s working on it as he normally would and there doesn’t seem to be any sort of deficiency there.”
The first ODI between Australia and India will take place at the SCG on Friday.
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