Steve Smith's incredible consistency has made the world take notice, particularly after the Ashes where he scored 774 runs in just seven innings. His unique technique has become a talking point, with Adam Gilchrist saying coaching manuals around the world might now change to incorporate Smith's style.
Recently, Sachin Tendulkar had briefly commented on Smith's batting style, calling it 'complicated technique but organised mindset'. He elaborated on his thoughts via a video, dissecting Smith's batting through the Ashes.
"In the first Test match, English bowlers tried to get him out in the slips. They had three slips and a gully. What he started doing was, he would shuffle across and expose his leg stump so that he would cover this (off side) line. He was leaving and being selective (about playing) very smartly," Tendulkar said in a video he posted on Twitter.
"At Lord's and after, they had a leg slip for him. Especially against Jofra Archer they had a few short pitched deliveries which got him in trouble, because he was actually getting in line with weight little bit on the backfoot. The most important thing for any batter is to keep your head in a forward position and weight if not back, at least in line or marginally forward.
That's why he got into bad positions when Archer bowled short. That's how he also got hit."
Smith was struck on the neck while trying to avoid a bouncer from Archer in the first innings at Lord's, forcing him to retire hurt. He returned briefly before being dismissed, and was subsequently ruled out of the remainder of the Test and the next game with concussion.
Tendulkar explained that Smith used the time to change his approach to short-pitch bowling.
"I'm sure he has gone back and worked on his technique and his set up," he said. "So whenever there was a leg slip, he would not go across and expose his leg stump because he knew the bowlers were targeting him in that area. If he went there (both legs to the off-stump), it is difficult to keep the ball down, it's always going to go uppishly. You can't get on top of the ball. But if you go there and hold your left foot there (covering the leg stump), you're constantly on top of the ball.
"What he started doing in the fourth and fifth Tests, against short pitched balls, he was leaving this way (bending with head forward, not back). He worked on his technique very smartly.
"But the most important factor that I noticed was, whenever there was a leg slip, he was holding his left foot on the leg stump line to ensure it wasn't exposed. That's why I say complicated technique, but extremely organised mindset."
This is my take on @SteveSmith49’s recent success in the Ashes. pic.twitter.com/qUNktHt5ps— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) September 19, 2019
The leg-slip plan finally bore fruit in the second innings of the last Test, when Smith was caught at that position off Stuart Broad. He had negated all strategies until then.
England captain Joe Root had called Smith a 'pain' and was relieved the plan finally worked.
"He has been a pain for me really, he's the No. 1 batsman for a reason. It was nice to see a plan come together finally, even though it was what we started with at Edgbaston right at the start of things. But finally one went to hand," Root had said after the last Test.
Tim Paine reveals Steve Smith's response to finally being brought undone by an England bowling plan! 😂 #Ashes pic.twitter.com/VkTOiCRwn0— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) September 15, 2019
Smith, though, was not too unhappy to be dismissed that way.
"They've had that position a bit for me, I've always felt if you hit one there it's kind of unlucky in a way and it just takes a catcher out of somewhere else, so go for your life," he said.