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Steve Smith’s omission from the T20 World Cup explained: who did Australia pick instead?

There is no doubt that Steve Smith is an Australian cricket legend.

So why has he been left out of Australia’s T20 Cricket World Cup squad when he is such an integral part of the national teams in other forms of cricket?

Sportnieuws investigates why.

MORE: Why will the 2024 T20 Cricket World Cup be played in the US?

Why was Steve Smith left out of the T20 World Cup squad?

It certainly raised eyebrows when Smith was left out of the Australian T20 squad for the tournament in the US, which started in June.

But it’s not much of a surprise when you look at the visible reasons why Smith has been overlooked by the Australian selectors.

Although Smith has achieved some success at international T20 level during his career (averaging almost 25 and five 50s), it is clear that he is better suited to the longer forms of the game.

Smith has been an accumulator of runs throughout his career, rather than a quick-scoring slugger, and it is a credit that he has adapted his natural game to succeed sooner at T20 level.

With a new generation of ball-strikers coming through the ranks, it is clear that the Australian selectors are keen to blood new talent in place of the 34-year-old legend.

Smith was given the opportunity to make his case for the T20 World Cup squad when he opened the batting alongside New Zealand in February.

However, he failed to capitalize on the opportunity, achieving scores of just 11 and four.

Smith’s current status in T20 cricket was then underlined when he was overlooked in the IPL auction and not picked up by any team.

Australian chief selector George Bailey admitted the country had better options for the top spot than Smith, but did not rule out a return to the rankings for the star in the future.

“I think his best T20 work in recent times is at the top of the rankings, and right now we’re seeing that top spot really settled,” Bailey said.

“I still think he has a huge amount of good cricket ahead of him in whatever formats, I think that’s as much for him to decide.

“I know he still enjoys playing T20 cricket – he’s going to play some MLC later this year – so that’s still an itch.

“We have had a handful of players, probably more than in some other countries, who have been playing in multiple formats for a long time, and it is normal that some of them will drop out.”

Only 15 players can be included in a T20 World Cup squad, meaning only four players from the list will not take the field in every match.

This has led to T20 nations opting to appoint players with versatility as this can help the squad adequately deal with any form or injury issues that arise during the tournament.

Smith has always been predominantly a top-order batsman and the fact that he is not an exceptional bowler would certainly have counted against his selection chances.

Who did Australia choose instead of Steve Smith?

Smith were vying for selection as the top-order batsmen in Australia’s T20 World Cup squad.

His last T20 matches for the green and gold were as an opener alongside Travis Head against New Zealand in February, indicating he would have been considered for this role at the T20 World Cup.

However, Australian selectors opted to select Head, David Warner and Josh Inglis as potential openers in the team.

It is likely that Head and Warner will be the first-choice opening duo, but Inglis impressed when he started the innings during the T20s against the West Indies in February.

Smith could also be used in a lower top-flight role, but it is understood that some of the batting order will be determined with captain Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis likely to fill these roles.

“Steve Smith, Matt Short, Jason Behrendorff, Aaron Hardie, Spencer Johnson and Xavier Bartlett were all part of lengthy conversations, along with a number of others including Jake Fraser-McGurk who is yet to play T20 International cricket but continues to impress and is developing rapidly,” Bailey said.

“It is always a challenge to be limited to a squad of 15 for a World Cup, given the different scenarios and options we would like to discuss.”

What is Steve Smith’s T20I record?

Matches Innings Running Average Strike rate 1950s 4s/6s High score
67 55 1094 24.86 125.45 5 96/26 90