Steve Smith has sent an ominous warning to bowlers around the world – he is back to his devastating best.
The 33-year-old batting superstar won his fourth Allan Border Medal on Monday night, and flies to India on the back of a home summer which reaped two centuries, including an unbeaten 200 against the West Indies in Perth.
He fronted media at Sydney airport on Tuesday and was asked whether it had been the best season of his career.
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Smith responded by saying his 2014-15 summer was his best yet. That season he whacked centuries in four consecutive matches against India, including an unbeaten 162 in Adelaide and a 192 in Melbourne.
But, now, he believes his form is almost at that same level.
"I'm starting to feel like I felt back then. It sounds strange because I've scored quite a few runs in the meantime," Smith said.
"The optimum for me, I've got that back in terms of my grip, and where my feet are going, and how my weight is transferring.
"I feel in a really good place so hopefully the next six months is really big for me and the team."
Smith spoke early in the summer about a change in his technique, which saw him remain more still at the crease rather than taking a large step across his stumps before the bowler's release.
"I said yesterday (at the AB Medal night) that I'd changed a few things, and I'm pretty happy with where my game is at at the moment," he said.
"Particularly the last five or six months, I feel like I've reinvented myself a little bit.
"It's been really good fun."
He's hoping the tweaks hold him in good stead across 2023, when the Aussies travel to India then England for a total of nine Test matches.
Smith averages 60.00 in India and 59.55 in England. Last time he played in England he dominated the old enemy, amassing 774 runs at an average of 110.54.
He's often dubbed the "best since (Sir Don) Bradman" and is generally considered a modern great of the game.
He sits fourth on the all-time list of Australian Test run-scorers, despite spending 12 months suspended in the wake of the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.
Only three Aussies have surpassed the elusive 10,000 Test runs barrier – Ricky Ponting (13,378), Allan Border (11,174), and Steve Waugh (10,927).
Smith sits on 8647 and is projected to join that exclusive list.
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