Steve Smith on a different level: Ben Stokes in awe of Rajasthan Royals teammate


Ben Stokes has revealed that IPL teammate Steve Smith is a batting genius but also a bit strange in his round-the-clock obsession for the game of cricket – an attribute that the England star doesn’t think he can cultivate for himself.

Ben Stokes and Steve Smith are teammates at IPL team Rajasthan Royals

Ben Stokes and Steve Smith are teammates at IPL team Rajasthan Royals (Courtesy by BCCI)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • I could not think about cricket in the way that he does when it comes to batting
  • For me, Test cricket is the pinnacle: Stokes
  • It has to stay around, it would be a sad, sad day if Test cricket was changed: Stokes

England all-rounder Ben Stokes feels Australian batting star Steve Smith is ‘a genius’ even though he is ‘a bit strange’ while admitting that he can never match the obsession for the game of his Rajasthan Royals teammate.

Stokes and Smith have been Ashes foes for quite some time now and their rivalry came to a head during a tightly contested Ashes series last year which ended tied at 2-2. While Smith almost single-handedly helped Australia to retain the Ashes, Stokes, with his all-round efforts ensured that England finished level with their opponents at home in 2019. The duo were slated to turn up for the same team Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League before the coronavirus pandemic brought an abrupt halt to sporting events all across the globe.

Speaking about Smith on the Royals podcast, Stokes said: “He’s still strange to play against and he’s still strange to play with. But I feel to be a genius you have to be a bit strange and he’s certainly both!

“Even though he plays for Australia, you’ve just got to hold your hands up sometimes to players like that and go, ‘Yeah, you’re on a different level when it comes to batting’.

“Personally, I could not think about cricket in the way that he does when it comes to batting. I could never be like that. Obviously, he’s on all the time but that’s why he averages 60-plus in Test cricket. That’s not for me but it’s for him. Who is to say who’s right or wrong.”

Stokes also brushed aside speculations regarding the future of the Test format saying that despite the apprehensions, the longest format still remains the ‘pinnacle’ for him as a player.

“For me, Test cricket is the pinnacle. There’s been a lot of talk recently about Test cricket dying, but I don’t know where that comes from. I know the likes of Virat Kohli and Joe Root have spoken about how Test cricket is where you really get tested.

“It’s where you find out what you’re really about as a cricketer and for me it is the purest form of the sport.

“It has to stay around, it would be a sad, sad day if Test cricket was changed. If they are going to change the rules, I think they should call it, ‘Easy cricket’!” added Stokes.

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