Interview of Cricket Fans – 65 – Steven Smith

Thank you for your participation in this interview, tell us your early memories and how you fell in love with this sport.

Thanks a lot for having me, brother. I remember coming across the glimpses of 2003 World Cup (pretty much the perks of having a Cricket Crazy Dad) but obviously, couldn’t understand much at that point of time so my earliest memory has to be that India’s tour of Pakistan, 2004. Mainly, due to the superb hype of India-Pakistan rivalry & the intense battle both sides have had in that series. What to say about that ODI Series, still feel it was ahead of its time, a score like 290 odd been chased with 5 overs to spare & an intensely close game with India scoring 350 odd & then, Tests….who could forget Viru’s 309 at Multan (with SRT’s 194 taking more limelight). Pure bliss. I was still a kid, yet enjoyed it enough through my little perspective. India-Pakistan games were something else back then.

You watched the 4th test between India and South Africa which happened in Delhi, what was the experience like watching the match from the stadium?

Ah, that’s a fantastic memory. Particularly due to the company I had at that time, still remember the scenes when my whole group planned that visit for the 2nd Day of that Test match, as we wanted to watch ABD at his best from the stadium. But got to see ‘Prime Jinx’ instead.

Another incident where this friend of mine, Srishti went mad when she saw Kohli near the boundary ropes & shouted “Kohliiiiiiii Marrryyyyyy meeeee”!!!! Man, Kohli literally turned his head for a moment & I can’t tell you how much we shouted after that. A pretty fascinating little memory that.

Your DP shows you are a fan of smudge, a few words you would like to share?

Haha yaa he’s in my DP at the moment, but you don’t need it to know about this aspect of mine, do you? Just kidding 😉

Talking about being the closest to my heart….there was SRT & then there’s SPD, simple. Earliest memory was the BBL Final, 2011. A 21-year-old captaining a side in that big a tournament itself is a huge deal, leave alone winning it. There was that fair bit of “spark” to see. Then that famous save at the boundary line for Pune Warriors in 2013. He was already an exciting talent but was yet to prove himself. And then came the 2013-14 Ashes down under. Obviously, the focus wasn’t on him & it was all about enjoying those fiery spells for me, particularly of Johnson. But then came the Perth Test, still remember watching that moment Live when Australia was struggling & he got his 2nd Ton (1st on home soil) with commentator goes “AUSTRALIA NEEDED SOMEONE TO STAND UP & TODAY, IT’S STEVE SMITH”…That line just got stamped in my head. I can never forget it. Then came that famous Border Gavaskar Trophy where he just announced himself in front of the world, both as a Batsman & as, Captain. Boom….by the time that tour ended, I knew who my favourite player was in the world.

Which are your top 3 knocks you enjoyed the most by Steven Smith and why?

Talking about his Top-3 knocks? Now, it’s all 2 & 3 as 1st is clear…..144 at Edgbaston & I don’t even need to describe that for the nth time, everyone knows how significant it was. The second one, 109 in Pune, My favourite knock by an overseas batsman in India Third one is an underrated ton, 100 vs SA in 2014 against a hostile lineup of Peak Steyn, Morkel, Philander & McLaren.

How tough was it to be a fan of smudge at the time he was banned from International Cricket?

Heartbreaking. It was asking myself to tolerate his absence for a year (or even more, who knew it back then?) when it wasn’t acceptable for me to miss even inning of him. But that too, somehow passed. Not like I was mentally depressed or anything haha, was still watching Cricket and all but it was hard, very hard. But I had a firm belief that he’d come back stronger & he absolutely did, that was worth waiting for. I NEVER LOSE MY HOPE ON HIM. JUST NEVER.

How do you think the battle between Steven Smith and Virat Kohli pan out during the upcoming series down under?

It was Tendulkar vs Ponting back then & now it’s Kohli vs Smith. Perfect definition – BEST vs BEST. It’s always exciting to see them sharing the field, & sharing some verbal banter as well to be honest. The reason 2017 BG Trophy is still my favourite. Nothing hurts you more than that feeling of “not getting to do anything when you’re able to”, that’s exactly what Smith would’ve had in his mind this time. Kohli, as usual experts say that extra bit of fire when he plays against Australia. A mouth-watering contest is around the corner, like always.

Who is your favourite Indian player currently and why?

Interestingly, it’s a hard toss-up between Bumrah & Shami for me. Don’t think I’d have picked a bowler as my favourite, a few years ago but that’s the revolution we keep talking about these days, India is not just a batting country anymore. Both are fast bowling sensations, love & also try to mimic their actions. That control, that ability to move it off the surface & off the air as well, hard thing to master. Yup, they both are my favourite Indian Cricketers.

Share your memory on each of the ICC events India won under Dhoni’s captaincy.

2007 T20 WC was special in so many ways, although my man (Sachin) wasn’t playing but I was still very excited for the tournament as it was the inaugural one. Yuvi’s Six Sixes, Sreesanth’s celebration after the dismissal of Hayden & of course, that iconic catch were some top moments.

2011 World Cup was no lesser than a Festival, more so as it was happening in our own country & indeed was the last World Cup of Tendulkar. The whole tournament was a definition of how a team goes through a tournament and peaks at a very right time. Complete team effort, enjoyed every bit of it.

2013 CT was a sheer example of how the talent (if backed properly) can provide you with immense success. That was an incredibly young & inexperienced side & probably that’s why they succeeded, as with youth…comes the fearlessness. That was also the last time India won an ICC Trophy at this level, so it makes it even more special.

What is your all-time XI?

As per me, it should only contain retired players. Sharing my all-time Test XI here, which also includes players which I haven’t watched LIVE, yet know enough about them through the other respectable sources:-

Mathew Hayden
Sunil Gavaskar
Don Bradman
Sachin Tendulkar
Viv Richards
Gary Sobers
Adam Gilchrist
Shane Warne (c)
Wasim Akram
Glenn McGrath
Malcolm Marshall

Thanks again for having me, bro!

Thank you @BharathPandhiri for this comment on my previous post.

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