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Steve Smith, Pat Cummins, and the Challenge of the Ashes


Amidst Ashes turmoil, Steve Smith and Pat Cummins face testing times with shrugged shoulders on display.

Mixed Performances: The much-anticipated Ashes series has been a rollercoaster for Australia’s key players, Steve Smith and Pat Cummins. While they showcased moments of brilliance with a century at Lord’s and a stunning 6/91 performance in the first innings at Leeds, both players have struggled to maintain consistency, resulting in middling returns during crucial matches.

Fading Impact: Comparing the current tour to their previous triumphant Ashes campaign, both Smith and Cummins’ performances fall short in terms of their overall impact. Smith’s batting average has plummeted to 31, with only one half-century in eight innings, while Cummins’ bowling has seen an economy rate of over 4.11.

Cummins’ Challenging Spell: Cummins’ captaincy career faces a challenging phase, as he struggled to control the proceedings during Zak Crawley and Joe Root’s dominating innings. The barrage from Jonny Bairstow further shook Cummins’ confidence, evident from his disoriented bowling and missed opportunities on the field.

Smith’s Frustrations: Steve Smith’s frustration surfaced once again, as he fell victim to Mark Wood’s short ball, continuing his streak of getting out after promising starts. The Australian vice-captain’s current form raises concerns as he seeks to regain his formidable touch.

As Australia grapples with these challenges, they must rally to save face in the Ashes series and find ways to retain the urn despite the struggles faced by their star players. (Steve Smith)

Section 1 – The Dueling Superstars:

At the start of the Ashes series, all eyes were on Steve Smith and Pat Cummins, as the two superstars were expected to lead the charge for Australia. After all, in the last Ashes contest in 2017-2018, their extraordinary performances had played a pivotal role in retaining the urn. Smith, with an astonishing average of 110.57, had single-handedly tormented the English bowlers, while Cummins emerged as a bowling force to be reckoned with.

However, as the 2023 Ashes unfolded, the Australian duo found themselves grappling with unfamiliar struggles. Smith’s previous run-scoring spree seemed like a distant memory, and Cummins’ bowling lacked the lethal venom that had previously rattled batsmen. The cricketing world was witnessing a rare occurrence – the two pillars of Australian cricket were facing a test of character like never before. (Steve Smith)

Subsection 1.1 – Smith’s Battle for Form:

For Steve Smith, his troubles with form had been evident throughout the series. The once-unstoppable run machine was now struggling to get past the 50-run mark. The unusual sight of Smith walking back to the pavilion after yet another promising start became an all-too-familiar sight for the Australian fans.

In his prime, Smith’s batting was characterized by an unwavering focus and an almost unshakeable concentration. However, on this tour, he seemed to be more vulnerable, falling prey to the English pacers’ well-executed plans. Mark Wood, in particular, had the measure of Smith, using the short ball to unsettle the former Australian captain.

As Smith’s dismissals mounted, the pressure on him to regain his form intensified. The critics started questioning whether the weight of expectations and the burden of captaincy were taking a toll on his batting. Australia desperately needed Smith to find his rhythm, and fast. (Steve Smith)

Subsection 1.2 – Cummins’ Leadership Test:

Pat Cummins, the newly appointed captain of the Australian team, faced a different kind of challenge. Leading a team in the cauldron of an Ashes series was no easy task, especially when the team’s batting and bowling departments were both underperforming.

Cummins had enjoyed a meteoric rise in his cricketing career, becoming one of the world’s premier fast bowlers. His ability to generate pace and movement had troubled even the most accomplished batsmen. But leading a team required more than just bowling prowess – it required tactical acumen, man-management skills, and the ability to stay composed under pressure.

Unfortunately for Cummins, the pressure seemed to be getting to him. His bowlers struggled to find the right lines and lengths, allowing England’s batsmen to settle in and dominate. The lack of discipline in the bowling ranks put immense pressure on the Australian batsmen, who were already facing their own struggles.

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