Australia‘s star batter, Steve Smith, has been omitted from the playing XI for the first T20I against New Zealand, signaling a potential change in strategy for the team. Despite his impressive performances in Test and ODI cricket, Smith’s struggles in the T20 format have led to his exclusion. With a modest average of 25.69 and a strike rate of 125.17 in 65 T20Is, Smith’s place in the squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup could be in jeopardy.

Mitchell Marsh’s reaction on Steve Smith’s place in the Australian team

Australian captain Mitchell Marsh emphasized the team’s focus on winning the series against New Zealand while hinting at experimenting with different combinations. Marsh acknowledged the importance of finding the right balance ahead of the T20 World Cup, suggesting that Smith’s absence in the playing XI is part of the team’s strategy to finalize their best lineup for the tournament.

“There will be certain guys that probably bat in different positions than they have done in the past, but ultimately we’re here to win the series,” Marsh said in response to a query about Smith’s role vs NZ, as quoted by

Also READ: NZ vs AUS 2024, T20I Series: Broadcast, Live Streaming details – When and where to watch in India, Australia, New Zealand, USA & other countries

Michael Vaughan has his say on Steve Smith’s role in the T20I side

Former England cricketer Michael Vaughan weighed in on Smith’s role in the T20 side, emphasizing the importance of utilizing him as an opener for maximum impact. Vaughan suggested that Smith’s ability to capitalize on the field restrictions during the powerplay overs makes him a valuable asset at the top of the order. However, Vaughan expressed doubts about Smith’s effectiveness in the middle order, highlighting the need for players who can accelerate the scoring rate in the latter stages of the innings.

“I think his only position really is to open, because he has the skill in the game to maximise that first six overs brilliantly. He is a skilful player. But if he is not going to open, I don’t think he should play. If you are going to play him, he bats in the top two, and that is great. He will face 50 balls and get you an 80 or 90,” stated Vaughan in his conversation with the Fox Sports.

“If he is not going to open, I don’t see him having an impact in the middle order after the powerplay. You need people who can whack it into the stands from (overs) six to 20. He can do that once he is in, but I think he is a better player in the first six (overs) when there are only two men outside the circle,” the ex-England skipper added.

Also READ: IND vs ENG – Jasprit Bumrah rested for Ranchi Test; here is India’s updated squad

After an impressive outing in the BBL 2022-23 season for Sydney Sixers, he opened the batting for Australia in the T20I series versus India, scoring a 41-ball 52 in the first outing, followed by 19 in the second.

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