Warner Optimistic About Smith’s Move to the Top Order

David Warner has stated that with Steve Smith moving to the top, it will free up his game and prevent opposition teams from using short balls on him early in his innings. Since Smith was announced as Australia’s Test opener, the retired Warner has supported his long-time teammate to make the role his own and praised Cameron Green’s selection at No.4. There are concerns about whether it’s worth destabilizing the middle order to make these changes, given that Smith has never opened in Test cricket. But Warner can see a clear upside. Teams have targeted Smith with a bumper barrage since he was struck by a Jofra Archer bouncer in the 2019 Ashes at Lord’s. This has resulted in a drop in his scoring rates and average despite spending long periods at the crease. However, Warner believes as an opener, Smith won’t face the same tactic and will have the opportunity to get into his game plan and dictate. Warner believes it’s worth it to have new blood in the middle order, given Australia will likely need two new openers in the coming years when Smith and Usman Khawaja retire. Warner’s view is backed up by the fact that Smith averages 106.2 when coming to the crease in the opening two overs of a Test innings. In the 2019 Ashes, Smith averaged 110.54 when regularly called to the crease early in the innings.

Smith is due to ramp up preparations for his first Test at the top this weekend, with Australia’s players reconvening in Adelaide ahead of Wednesday’s series opener against West Indies. Warner thinks it is a good move as Smith still has some years left in him and the new blood in the middle order will help the team’s foundation. Smith himself is looking forward to the challenge of opening, having had success against the new ball in the past. On the whole, Warner, Smith, and other are optimistic about the change and believe it will have a positive impact on the team’s performance.