Home » Steve Smith’s T20 World Cup omission, explained: Who did Australia choose instead? | Sporting News Australia

Steve Smith’s T20 World Cup omission, explained: Who did Australia choose instead? | Sporting News Australia

There is no doubt that Steve Smith is an Australian cricket legend.

So why has he been left out of Australia’s T20 Cricket World Cup squad when he is such an integral part of the nation’s teams in other formats of cricket?

The Sporting News investigates why.

MORE: Why is the T20 Cricket World Cup 2024 being played in the USA?

Why was Steve Smith left out of the T20 World Cup squad

It certainly raised eyebrows when Smith wasn’t included in the Australian T20 squad for the tournament in the USA, starting in June.

But it’s not really a surprise if you look into the visible reasons why Smith has been overlooked by the Australian selectors.

While Smith has enjoyed some success at international T20 level over his career – with an average of nearly 25 and five 50s – it’s clear he is better suited to the longer forms of the game.

Smith has been an accumulator of runs, instead of a fast-scoring slugger throughout his career, and it’s a credit that he has adjusted his natural game to succeed at T20 level previously.

With a new generation of ball strikers coming through the ranks, it’s obvious that the Australian selectors are keen to blood new talent instead of the 34-year-old legend.

Smith was given the opportunity to put his case forward for T20 World Cup selection when he opened the batting alongside against New Zealand in February.

However, he failed to grasp the opportunity, managing scores of only 11 and four.

Smith’s current status in T20 cricket was then underlined when he was overlooked in the IPL auction and wasn’t picked up by a team.

Australia’s chief selector George Bailey admitted the nation had better options for the top order than Smith, but didn’t rule out a return to the fold for the star in the future.

“I think his best T20 work of late has come at the top of the order, and at the moment, we see that top order being really settled,” Bailey said.

“I still think he’s got an enormous amount of good cricket left ahead of him, across what formats, I think that’s as much up for him to decide.

“I know he still loves playing T20 cricket – he’s going to play some MLC later this year – so that’s still an itch that he’d like to scratch.

“We’ve had a handful of players, probably more than some other countries, that have been multi-format for a long, long period of time, and it’s natural that some of those will start to drop off.”

Only 15 players can be included in a T20 World Cup squad – meaning only four players from the list won’t take to the field every game.

This has seen T20 nations opting to name players with versatility as it can help the squad adequately cover any form or injury issues that arise during the tournament.

Smith has always been predominantly a top-order batsmen and the fact he isn’t an exceptional bowler definitely would have counted against his selection chances.

Who did Australia select instead of Steve Smith?

Smith was competing for selection as a top order batsmen in Australia’s T20 World Cup squad.

His last T20 matches for the green and gold were as a opener alongside Travis Head against New Zealand in February – indicating he would have been considered for this role at the T20 World Cup.

However, Australian selectors opted to select Head, David Warner and Josh Inglis as potential openers in the team.

It’s likely Head and Warner will be the first choice opening duo, but Inglis impressed while starting the innings during the T20s against West Indies in February.

Smith could also be used in a role in the lower top order, but it’s clear that part of the batting order is settled with captain Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis likely to fill those roles.

“Steve Smith, Matt Short, Jason Behrendorff, Aaron Hardie, Spencer Johnson and Xavier Bartlett were all part of long conversations, along with several others, including Jake Fraser-McGurk who is yet to play T20 International cricket but continues to impress and is developing rapidly,” Bailey said. 

“Being constrained to a squad of 15 for World Cups is always a challenge given the different scenarios and options we’d like to cover.”

What is Steve Smith’s T20I record?

Matches Innings Runs Average Strike Rate 50s 4s/6s High Score
67 55 1094 24.86 125.45 5 96/26 90