NSW Blues skipper Steve Smith will take a leaf out of the Michael Clarke handbook of aggression when his side hosts Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield final in Canberra.
Smith played a huge role in the Australian Test team’s summer of resurgence that recorded series wins over England and world No.1 South Africa – and it looks like he took some handy notes as well.
Many fans and experts alike have tipped the 24-year-old middle-order batsman as the heir-apparent to Test skipper Clarke, and Smith admits he’ll be adopting several of his captaincy tactics to help make the younger WA players feel “as uncomfortable as we can” on the Manuka Oval wicket from Friday.
“Just through our aggression with our bowlers,” he said.
“We adopted a few of those plans last week about getting the ball in quite short and seeing what their tail-enders have to offer.
“If there’s enough pace and bounce and what-have-you we’ll do that sort of thing again.”
While the tactic might work against the six WA squad players aged 21 or younger, it’s unlikely to rattle senior batsmen Marcus North, Adam Voges and Shaun Marsh all too much.
NSW will also have to pull it off without experienced paceman Doug Bollinger, who’s been called up to the Australian T20 squad for the upcoming ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in place of an injured Mitchell Johnson.
“But whoever comes in, it’s the same principle. we’ve just got to try and make them uncomfortable through aggression,” Smith said.
And Smith says his side’s aggression won’t just be limited to short pitch bowling, but also “the way we move around in the field.”
If you’re struggling to think how a fielder can move around with aggression look no further than South African batsman Faf du Plessis, who said the Aussie fieldsmen ran around “like a pack of dogs” in the third Test after he handled a ball while batting.