Steve Smith's unique batting style has been compared favourably to the technique Don Bradman developed famously by hitting a golf ball with a cricket stump. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Steve Smith's unique batting style has been compared favourably to the technique Don Bradman developed famously by hitting a golf ball with a cricket stump. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft) Rick Rycroft

Smith the most like Bradman

AS AMAZING as has been the Australian cricket team's dismantling of the Poms to win back the Ashes, the truly astonishing factor has been the performance of skipper Steve Smith.

In the 1950s and 60s the phrase "the next Bradman” was the curse applied to many a promising career often cut short by a crushing weight of expectations.

It's nearly 70 years since The Don called it quits, so Smith, whose test average of 61.5 is second only to Bradman of players who have scored more than 1500 runs, has escaped that pressure.

But Smith, who has a Bradmanesque 426 runs at 142 from just four innings this series, has not escaped the notice of the technicians.

Bradman researcher Tony Shillinglaw says only Smith and Bradman have employed what he calls "rotation”.

Don Bradman's rotation technique, which allowed him to score freely all around the wicket, has surfaced again in world cricket in the batting of Australian captain Steve Smith.
Don Bradman's rotation technique, which allowed him to score freely all around the wicket, has surfaced again in world cricket in the batting of Australian captain Steve Smith. Bill North

"He does it differently, but the principles are the same. In other words, his body is completely free to react to the ball. He can score through 360 degrees where orthodox techniques don't allow you to do that from the first place.

"Bradman's bat never stopped once it started. Because Bradman was rotating, his head was still, his feet were still, but the bat was moving. When the ball came out, the bat just reacted to the ball. He did the same thing for every single ball - once the ball came out, the ball dictated what shot he played. Steve Smith is the same.”



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