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World no.1 ranked Test batsman Steve Smith said that he has always been more of a batsman than a bowler. Smith had made his initial foray into international cricket as a leg-spinner and in a chat with New Zealand spinner Ish Sodhi on the Rajasthan Royals Facebook page, said that he was just one of many players that Australia tried out to fill the spot left vacant by the legendary Shane Warne.
"I was probably always more of a batsman than a bowler," said Smith. "I got picked in certain teams as more of a bowler which was different. Obviously played my first two Test matches as a specialist spinner which was strange in a way."
Smith came on at number eight on his Test debut against Pakistan in 2010 at Lord's, replacing current Australian Test captain Tim Paine at the crease who was also making his debut. He lasted just seven deliveries and scored a solitary run before being dismissed by Danish Kaneria. He didn't bowl in the first Pakistan innings but took three wickets in the second.
"They were looking for a spinner after the Shane Warne era and tried plenty of options in that time. Now we have got Nathan Lyon who is doing a terrific job but I was one of the 12 or 13 spinners that they tried. I got dropped after that and for me I felt I can find a way back into the team through my batting. So at that point I let my bowling slip away a bit," said Smith.
The 30-year-old said that he started spending more time in the nets on is batting after getting dropped instead of spending equal time on both. "Before that I was mixing and matching between batting and bowling and working on both in a session in the nets. Then it got to a point where, if a session is of three hours in the nets, I'd be doing probably two and half hours of batting," said Smith.
"Obviously I had to find a method that worked for me as well, which takes time. I was still at stage playing in the middle-order for New South Wales. It takes time to build the confidence to keep doing it. Eventually I got back into the team by scoring runs for New South Wales and sort of never looked back since then."
Smith has since gone on to be recognised as the best batsman in the world in the longest form of the game. He boasts a Test average of 62.84 in 73 Tests and has scored 26 centuries.
After spending a year away from the game due to a ban that was imposed because of his role in the 2018 ball tampering scandal, Smith announced his return to the Test arena by smashing 774 runs in the 2019 Ashes series.