While the world stands dazzled by the achievement of Steve Smith in scoring 751 runs in six innings of the ongoing Ashes series, there is one player in the English team who thinks that the stupendous achievement of the former Australian captain is also due to good luck.
Jofra Archer, who had caused a concussion to Steve Smith during the second Test by hitting him on the head with a bouncer, made a rather interesting comment during the press conference following the play on day 2 of the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval.
Speaking to the reporters at the PC, the English fast bowler said: "It's weird you know, because every time he bats, I don't (know) what it is, he literally cannot get out."
The statement so far was such that few would disagree with. There is an indescribable inevitability about Smith's run-scoring in this Ashes series. He has looked like getting runs every time he has come to the crease. But what Archer said next, in order to explain the Aussie batsman's prolificacy is a bit controversial.
"The ball just lands, especially if he plays a bad shot, the ball just lands in no man's land, (it has happened) for the whole series. Obviously, he's a good batter, he's got good temperament but I just don't know what it is. The ball never goes to hand," Archer told the media.
Just look at the words he used: "Obviously, he's a good batter...but I just don't know what it is. The ball never goes to hand." The clear insinuation in these words is that Smith is just 'good' and not the freakishly brilliant batsman everyone considers him. On top of that, the fast bowler is implying that his run-scoring spree is the result of good luck rather than just his excellence.
This is unfortunate. Smith is averaging nearly 65 in Test cricket after having played 67 matches. This is the second-highest average for any batsman who has played a substantial number of matches. The man at the top of the list is, of course, Don Bradman with 99.94.
Also, Smith has scored runs around the world, from India to Australia, from England to West Indies. So, he isn't just a 'good' player. Besides, Archer is wrong when he says that the 30-year old has been benefitting simply because of good luck.
Yes, he was dropped once on day 2 of this Test and had some lucky escapes during his double hundred in the fourth Test. But most of the chances he offered in the previous Test came after he had got to a hundred. In other innings of the series, Smith has been rather flawless.
Lastly, even if a batsman gets lucky breaks, he has to be good to make use of them. Joe Root got dropped thrice in the first innings of the ongoing Test, still, he couldn't get a hundred.
So, Archer, who faced criticism for not showing any concern after hitting Smith on the head, needs to be a little more respectful towards his opponent.