A leader with unprecedented wisdom and perspective.
Whatever the match result of IPL 10 tonight between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant, Steven Peter Deveraux Smith will emerge with this exact outcome more firmly entrenched within his soul and spirit.
Australian cricket is presently navigating cautiously through challenging waters with the current imbroglio being played out between head office and the administration. Smith, one of a small group of key players targeted to have a rest in April and May away from the IPL.
Reported recently ” CA wants to keep the players fresh during their off days in April and May when the cash-rich League is played and insisted that there is nothing “sinister” behind the move.
The offer, made to Test captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and fast bowlers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, however, were met with a lukewarm response from the players, who normally get a one-year contract.”
This IPL, Smith was made the captain of the Supergiants over MS Dhoni. A situation that would appear unthinkable, unlikely and an unnecessary risk to many. The outcome of making the IPL final, a grand and due reward indeed, fully supported by owner Sanjeev Goenka.
Smith has been delivering an ongoing historical remit of performances, unparalleled in batting brilliance since August 1st 2013 in Manchester. 5251 test runs @ 61 in 100 innings has him placed rightfully with cricket legends. At only 27 years of age, having endured a contrasting range of captaincy consequences to batter and confound the psyche since accepting the role, where does he turn to gain this wisdom and perspective.
Thankfully the social platforms of choice allow us a direct passage and ability to determine the authenticity of feeling within.
During the recent Border-Gavaskar series, Smith regularly used “adapt” in his comments, demonstrating an acceptance of where he wanted to lead the team rather than subscribe to the historically aggressive methods applied.
“It was a fantastic learning curve. I think the way the guys were able to adapt and really challenge India in these conditions was terrific. I’m really proud of the way the boys competed in this series.”
With proper perspective he adopted a thinking and planning process that fully considered all that was ahead and around, not letting himself fall into the historical trap of sameness.
The images and comments within this Instagram post are revealing. The tactics applied with RPS to uncover Rahul Tripathi and Washington Sundar while the forgotten Jaydev Unadkat rediscovered his talent, evidence of a leader in charge of his team.
To immerse himself in discussions with Dhoni and Stephen Fleming, handle the expectations of an enormously renumerated Ben Stokes, manage the emotions of Khawaja and Zampa biding their time as international extras and finish 5th position overall for the Orange Cap lends weight and depth to the points stated in the aforementioned post.
Therefore the question begging to be asked is this.
For Steve Smith to be allowed to continue his quest for leadership excellence, to properly gain the extremes of responsibility, is the pathway of knowledge unfolding that shares the Indian and IPL experience not better than resting at home, possibly spending time planning around the same familiar colleagues?
The natural smile on his face, the sheer joy of different companions, the reverence from those respected would suggest that the eventual answer for some, is impossible to imagine.
Footnote: The author has completed several trips to India during the IPL and witnessed first hand the adulation and deep respect for Smith as a player from the now resting Rajasthan Royals to the present. It is impossible to properly describe the goodwill and admiration that he is afforded. This overall, if properly harnessed, surely is an asset and for the benefit of Australian cricket.