Sport Rejuvenated Steve Smith ready to fire for NSW despite having no Test cricket in sight
Langer has the Australian team's full support: Smith
Steve Smith, crowned the Allan Border medallist for a third time, has backed under-fire coach Justin Langer and defended the decision to scrap the tour of South Africa.
A fresh Steve Smith is looking forward to donning the baggy blue of NSW yet again ahead of his return to the Sheffield Shield as he prepares for his only avenue to red-ball cricket before the Ashes at the end of 2021.
Smith had a whirlwind summer against India that featured record-breaking centuries at the SCG in both limited-overs and Test cricket, while also going through a self-described disappointing run of form in the first two Tests in Adelaide and Melbourne.
He came into the series straight out of the IPL bubble where he had previously arrived from Australia's white-ball tour of England.
All up, it accounted for the best part of six months that Smith spent in biosecure bubbles to play cricket and he admits it took a toll on him.
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As a result, he was determined to take some time away from the game once India departed Australia.
It might be unusual to think of Smith taking time out of cricket. This is the man who loves the game so much he shadow-bats in his hotel room, in his whites, the night before a game.
But for Smith, he believes it was vital after being part of such a big summer.
Speaking to reporters after he wasmatch against Victoria, Smith admitted that game at North Sydney Oval was the first time he had faced bowlers in a month and that he feels fresh as a result.
And considering he scored an incredible century that included six sixes, it's fair to say it didn't make too much of a difference.
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"I haven’t faced any bowlers. Today was the first day in about a month," Smith said.
"Nice to find a bit of rhythm early on and spend some time in the middle. Hopefully, that will hold me in good stead.
"I think I’ve gained a bit of energy and rejuvenation. So it’s nice to be back playing again and looking forward to playing some long-form cricket in the Shield in a few days.
"Sometimes you need to (take some time away), I’m getting old now. I need to take every break I can get.
"But in that respect, after a big summer when South Africa was called off, it was just about relaxing.
"[I] had a few little niggles with my elbow and a bit of tennis elbow, and my wrist that’s been playing up all summer. So just stayed away from it as long as I could. Now back to it."
Steve Smith slammed six sixes in his superb century today at North Sydney!— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau)
People have predicted the death of Test cricket for decades, but has the moment finally arrived?
As T20 cricket dominates the schedule, there are real fears over the future of Test matches. David Mark asks whether the long form of cricket will be forced to retire hurt.It wasn't just the increased money for the players. The administrators — painted into a corner by Packer — came to understand the power of one-day cricket as an un-tapped device to bring in the punters and the filthy lucre.
Smith also understands how much of a boost it was to be able to exit the biosecure environment and return to somewhat of a "normal life".
"It’s different living in the bubbles, I think I was in there for six months," Smith said.
"[I] didn’t see Dani (Smith's wife) for five and a bit months I think it was, so it wasn’t easy but you got to do what you got to do.
"Just being out of the bubble and being able to spend some time with her and just live almost a normal life, it’s been good for a couple of weeks."
Now that Australia's tour of South Africa has been cancelled, the 2020 Allan Border medalist is looking forward to settling in for one of his longest stints in the NSW team for some time.
The Sheffield Shield is set to be Smith's only chance at red-ball cricket before the Ashes at the end of the year.
While there is still the possibility of Cricket Australia scheduling more Tests, Smith knows that it is as important as ever to get some runs on the board while he can.
"For me anyway, it’s the same old thing to go out there and play and try and score runs," Smith said.
"It is a bit weird (having so much domestic cricket) but it is what it is.
"We could have been in Africa, but I said it the other day that we’ve got to take what the medical staff say and it certainly wasn’t up to the playing group.
"We’ve got to take that and now back playing for NSW and hopefully we can...go on to another Shield.
"I love coming back to the Blues, it’s a good bunch of guys and I love playing for them."
On this day 2010: Brett Lee announces retirement from Test cricket .
The Australia fast bowler ended his Test career with 310 wickets from 76 matches.It had been two years since the New South Wales pacemen had played in the long format of the game due to a number of niggles, with a side strain keeping him out of the 2009 series in which England reclaimed the Ashes on home soil.