Steve Smith’s time has finally arrived

Even though he already had five Test centuries to his name, the moment Steve Smith, batting on 99 at the Gabba, saw his shot go past the fielder towards the point boundary, he screamed and celebrated as if it was his debut Test ton.

By Suyash Srivastava | Updated: Dec 22, 2014, 19:58 PM IST

Even though he already had five Test centuries to his name, the moment Steve Smith, batting on 99 at the Gabba, saw his shot go past the fielder towards the point boundary, he screamed and celebrated as if it was his debut Test ton.

There was nothing wrong about that celebration. It was his Test captaincy debut for Australia, and obviously that ton would have meant the world to him.

A new captain will be compared with the likes of Mark Taylor, Allan Border, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting, who kept Australia at world cricket's pinnacle during their tenure.

With Michael Clarke being ruled out for the rest of the series due to injury, the selectors had to find his replacement. They opted for Smith.

But despite his sublime form in the last one year, many experts still didn’t rate Smith highly enough to be Australia’s captain. When one talks about an Australian captain, the likes of Waugh and Ponting come to mind and baby-faced Smith is someone who looks too young to lead the Aussies. That probably went against him when pundits analyzed his prospects.

But even at 25, Smith has all what is needed to be given the responsibility to lead a side.

He is a brilliant fielder, very innovative in his batting approach, can play equally well in all formats and should be Australian batting's mainstay in coming years.

One aspect, which has been the core strength of most of the Australian skippers, is the ability to soak the pressure under nail-biting circumstances. Smith is no different.

Earlier this year, in a match against Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, with just two runs required off the last ball, instead of attempting a big hit, which most batsmen would have, Smith caressed the ball towards deep cover and completed two runs. It was another display of keeping his nerves under pressure and the youngster was lauded for his cricketing acumen by experts.

It wasn’t long ago that the Aussies were undergoing a transition phase. While Clarke was their most established batsmen, David Warner and Smith were the two youngsters that kept the ship sailing by often playing formidable knocks.

I have always been a huge Steve Smith fan. While he along with Mitchell Johnson were taking the game away from India on Day 3 of the Brisbane Test, it was a delight to watch him reach three figures. During the innings, Smith exhibited all the qualities to suggest he had all the makings to be an Australian legend.

In the IPL last year, it was baffling to see Pune Warriors not sticking with him consistently, despite him being one of the best players in T20 cricket. Even the Australian selectors weren’t sure of playing him regularly in all formats.

But like any other champion, Smith too has fought against all odds and has proved that he will be a part of Australia’s success in years to come.

Can Smith the batsman, also create an aura like his predecessors, is something cricket fans will find out in due course of time. But as far as leading Australia is concerned, he for sure, is the right man for the job.