In response to the backlash in England over his decision to prepare for the Ashes through county cricket, Australian batsman Steve Smith offered a lighthearted response, brushing off the criticism.
There has been a longstanding tradition of Australian cricketers gearing up for Ashes tours in England via the County Championship. However, this move by Smith, who will be playing for Sussex, has caused some local commentators to worry that it might give the Aussies an unfair advantage in their quest to keep the urn.
When asked about the feedback to his decision, Smith, speaking to Cricket Australia’s website, found it slightly amusing. He noted that he’s not a stranger to playing cricket in England, having participated in numerous games there in the past.
Smith’s previous tour to England was noteworthy as he accumulated a whopping 774 runs across four tests in the 2019 series, helping Australia retain the Ashes. The latest Ashes series saw Australia triumph with a 4-0 victory at home, a fact that England’s Stuart Broad has controversially labeled as “void” due to COVID-19 protocols at the time, a statement that raised some eyebrows in Smith’s homeland.
Smith, during a Sussex press conference, expressed his surprise at Broad’s comments, acknowledging Broad’s known propensity for friendly banter. He also reflected on the 2019 Ashes series, which ended in a 2-2 draw, tempering Australia’s joy at keeping the urn. Despite their dominance at home, Australia has not won an Ashes series in England since their 4-1 victory in 2001.
Smith admitted that winning an Ashes series in England is a significant goal for him and his team, stating, “It’s certainly something that would be high up on my bucket list and everyone else in the team as well.”