In another three days, cricket's oldest rivalries will resume in the English soil when England and Australia will battle it out for the Ashes urn at Cardiff in the first Test.
Aussie star batsman Steve Smith has already established himself as one of the best in the world in the longer format of the game. He is definitely going to be one of the crucial players for Australia in the Ashes series this year. Ahead of the first Test, Smith felt that maintaining the right kind of energy on the field will be a key aspect in this series.
"I've been told that I've got to come into the side and be fun. For me, it's about having energy in the field and making sure I'm having fun and making sure everyone else around is having fun, whether it be telling a joke or something like that," Smith told the reporters.
Smith is currently the number one Test batsman in the world, according to the latest ICC Test rankings list. He has scored five centuries in the last six Tests. His average in this format of the game is astonishing (131.5). Thus a lot of hopes will be riding on him as Australia have not managed to win an Ashes series in England after 2001.
"I'm just going to try to go out there and do the things I've been doing for the last 12 or 13 months and score runs. I'd just like my bat to do the talking. I've enjoyed batting at three and had a bit of success there against West Indies but over here will be a bigger challenge.
"(England) is probably one of the harder places in the world to bat against the new ball and I'm going to have to make sure my game is ready to go," Smith added.
Smith was recently criticised by Graeme Swann after Australia reached London for the Ashes series. Swann had commented that Smith's batting technique is not that great. But one would believe that Smith has worked on his batting technique and is one of the best in business.
"I looked at a bit of footage, what I needed to improve. Since then my technique has tightened up a lot and my general mindset around batting and batting long periods has certainly changed. I got rid of a tap that I used to have, just before the bowler bowled to me.
"I was getting myself too high, my balance was out, my stroke-play was out, everything was out of sync, so I am a lot more still at the crease now. I know I have got an attacking game and as long as my defence is in order, I am pretty confident I can score runs," Smith concluded.