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Australia’s Smith takes batting obsession to shower


MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Practising cover drives in shower is just one manifestation of Steve Smith’s batting obsession but the Australian has assured his anxious team at the World Cup that he is not overdoing it.

Australia’s Steve Smith is bowled by Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga. Reuters/Paul Childs

The 30-yer-old has returned from a ball-tampering scandal with his hunger for runs intact as his three half-centuries in five innings would attest.

The 12-month absence has not diminished Smith’s dedication to his craft which took the right-hander to the top of test batting rankings before his exile.

Assistant coach Ricky Ponting, 10 rooms down the hotel corridor, has heard him shadow practising in England and coach Justin Langer said Smith hones his cover drives in shower.

“I don’t know how he’s spying on me in the shower!” an amused Smith, who relishes long hours in the nets, told reporters.

“Yeah, I’m known to play a few shots here and there.

“I always have a bat in my room and Ricky was actually rooming about ten rooms up from me the other day and said, ‘Were you batting at seven o’clock this morning?’

“He could hear me tapping on the ground.

“I said, ‘Yeah, I was actually.’”

The team management has asked Smith to consider toning down his routine which may exhaust the top order bulwark who will play a key role in Australia’s title defence.

Smith said nine years of international cricket had taught him when to relax.

“It’s been spoken about a little bit, but I think at the same time you’ve got to trust people’s preparation,” he said.

“I’ve been around quite a while now and I’ve played a lot of cricket and you’ve got to trust the individual’s preparation and what they are trying to do.

“It’s one thing that’s I guess learned with experience and I’m reasonably experienced now and I’ve learned a bit over the last couple of years to sometimes just take the foot off the pedal in the nets and save myself up a little bit.”

Australia are seeking their fifth win in six matches when they take on Bangladesh at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Manchester; editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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