Melbourne: Steve Smith's poor form is because he has not played enough red ball cricket due to Covid-19 situation this year, says Australia's top-order batsman Marnus Labuschagne, who is also one of Smith's closest mates in the Australia squad.
Smith has aggregated just 10 runs in four innings of the first two Tests averaging only 3.33 per innings. He has been dismissed twice by off-spinner R Ashwin and once by pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah.
In the last 12 months, he has played just three Test matches. Before the two games against India over the last fortnight in the ongoing series, Smith's only other Test of 2020 came in the first week of January last year against New Zealand.
In comparison he has played 10 ODIs during the last 12 months, scoring 568 runs at an average of 63.11 with three centuries. He also played nine T20 internationals agrregating 217 runs at an average of 27.12. That apart, he also played 14 Indian Premier League games for Rajasthan Royals and four matches for Sydney Sixers in Big Bash League. All these total to 37 white ball games against three red-ball games, all Tests, over the last 12 months.
The right-handed 31-year-old batsman did not even play the warm-up matches against the touring Indians and instead participated in the white-ball series, the ODIs and the T20 Internationals.
"He has not scored a lot of runs, he has played a lot of white-ball cricket and he hasn't probably has had much time against the red ball as he would have liked but that's the reality of cricket in this Covid situation," said Labuschagne while speaking to the media.
Labuschagne said that Smith has got immense experience at the Test level and scored two centuries in ODIs against India in late November which is why his lack of form shouldn't be a worry.
Smith averages 61.33 in 75 Test matches. He scored a 66-ball 105 and a 64-ball 104 in the first two ODIs in Sydney on November 27 and 29 during the three-match series.
"He averages above 60 after 80-odd (75) games. He has shown he is so consistent even from the start of his career uptill now. He just keeps putting runs on the board. Like I said, call what you want to call but not long ago he got two hundreds of 60-odd balls in ODIs twice," added Labuschagne.
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