Ian Chappell sounds caution: Will Steve Smith’s shift up the order weaken Australia’s core?

Debate stirs as Steven Smith gears up to open in Australia vs. West Indies Test series. Ian Chappell warns against compromising middle-order strength.

Australia is gearing up for the upcoming Test series against the West Indies, and the cricketing world is abuzz with a surprising twist in the batting order. Former Test captain Ian Chappell has raised cautionary flags against the decision to move Steven Smith up the order, urging the selectors to preserve the middle-order strength.

In a surprising move, Smith is set to open against the West Indies in the Adelaide Test match starting from January 17. Chief selector George Bailey opted for specialist Matthew Renshaw in the squad but revealed he won’t make the final XI.

Despite Smith’s expressed willingness to open and his impressive average at No.4, Chappell emphasizes the importance of maintaining the sanctity of positions three and four in the batting order. Historical comparisons with cricketing legends like Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar, and Brian Lara, who rarely ventured into opening, further support Chappell’s stance.

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The perplexity for Chappell lies in understanding the motivation behind Smith’s sudden desire to open at the age of 34. Chappell suggests a thorough exploration of Smith’s reasons – whether it’s for the team’s benefit or to prolong his own career.

Australian captain Pat Cummins aligns with Chappell’s sentiments, expressing satisfaction with Smith at four and advocating for a private conversation to understand the rationale behind the decision.

As the series against the West Indies looms, the unexpected shift in Steve Smith’s role adds complexity to Australia’s preparations, raising questions about the impact on the team’s dynamics.

-IANS