I’m excited to be in Pakistan and bringing Test cricket here as an Australian team: Steven Smith

Steve Smith is trying to move on from the concussion episode that stalled his progress and is optimistic to make a strong comeback in the away tour. He wants to score a truckload of runs in the epoch-making Test series against Pakistan which is set to get underway from March 4 at Rawalpindi.

After the concussion blow during the second T20I against Sri Lanka in February, while he was fielding, it would be the first time Smith would be dealing with full-throttle fast bowling in the training session and it will give him an opportunity to assess his recovery.

“It’s about ticking off facing pace bowling,” he said.

“Once that’s done everything should be fine. It’s progressing nicely.”

He recalled the incident at the SCG where he put in a full-length dive at midwicket and the effects were still there after the fielding effort. It is not the first time the former Australian captain has suffered a concussion. His first episode of concussion occurred when he was hit by a sharp bumper from Jofra Archer and was substituted by Marnus Labuschagne in Ashes 2019.

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“I knocked myself out for a few seconds,” he added.

“When I came to, I was in a weird state. I knew straight away I was likely concussed having had a few knocks to the head.

“I’ve had headaches and drowsiness. A couple of Fridays ago, I had a vertigo incident where I was struggling for a bit that day. I’ve had the Epley Maneuver and got the crystals back where they’re supposed to be in the inner ear.

“After that, things sort of settled down and progressed really nicely. I’ve been able to do the exercise stuff I need to get myself back to that ready to play state.”

There will be pressure on Smith to deliver the goods as he had a mediocre Ashes outing where he just amassed 244 runs and averaged 30.5 – which is far below his previous Ashes campaigns.

He found it tough to negotiate pace bowling in England, however, he wants to leave the past behind and start afresh in the landmark Pakistan series. He has only made one hundred in the last 14 Tests but the lack of Test cricket owing to the Covid pandemic has seemingly proved to be a hindrance in finding fluency for the ace batter.

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“I love getting on a roll and being able to play a lot of cricket and finding my groove,” said Smith.

“It’s been an odd couple of years have not played away since the Ashes in 2019…it’s hard to fathom.

“I pride myself on my performance away from home. The last away tour I performed really well in the Ashes and hopefully I can replicate something similar in this series.”

Smith is satisfied with the security arrangements in Pakistan despite the online threat against Ashton Agar which was promptly investigated and wasn’t considered a real risk.

“We are feeling incredibly safe here in Pakistan and we’ll be guided by our security and people we trust around us,” he said.

“We had a team barbeque last night, it was amazing. The food was sensational. It’s been really good so far.

“I’m just excited to be here in Pakistan and bringing Test cricket here as an Australian team.”

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