'Fidgeting like a murder suspect': America's bizarre love for Steve Smith

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Steve Smith’s incredible form with the bat is being noticed in the States.

The Aussie superstar has enjoyed an Ashes series in which he’s made the remarkable look routine.

Even by his own staggering standards.

Smith has scored 671 runs at 134.2 this series, a fair return given he missed out on three innings because of a delayed concussion, to ensure comparisons with Don Bradman have come thick and fast.

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But he’s not just making headlines in the cricket world.

Smith is gaining attention in America, with his run-scoring feats featuring in a number of prominent US publications recently.

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Joshua Robinson described Smith as “the world’s most meticulous hitter.”

Attempting to convey Smith’s technique and mannerisms to an American audience, Robinson described Smith as “fidgeting like a murder suspect.”

“Beyond his Rafa Nadal-esque routine of patting his pads, cup and helmet before every ball, Smith’s stance sets him apart...It’s enough to make cricket purists cringe.

Steve Smith celebrates after reaching his century during the fourth Ashes Test. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“Between balls, Smith has a habit of re-enacting the shot he just made, almost as if to log it in his mind.

“Then, with a sweep of the arms, he pushes aside what he’s just done and starts the fidgeting process again.”

Robinson describes Smith as cricket’s version of baseball star Mike Trout - a two-time MVP for the Los Angeles Angels.

“But even that doesn’t do him justice. With the attention he brings to his craft, Smith is perhaps the most obsessive striker of a ball in any sport in the world,” he writes.

And it’s not just the Journal, with Forbes decrying Smith as a “cricket genius” and the “greatest show in sports.”

“He’s got to the point when you just expect him to score a century every time he enters the crease,” Tristan Lavalette writes.

“Once he’s on about 20, it’s inevitable. He’s going big. You can feel that dread of doom engulfing England and the crowd when Smith is settled.”

He’s also featured on Sports Centre’s Top 10 plays a number of times throughout his career.

Smith eyeing Bradman record

The former skipper needs 99 runs in the fifth Ashes Test, which begins in London on Thursday, to make it the most prolific series of his life.

He also requires 304 runs to better Bradman's mark of 974 runs in 1930, the highest tally ever achieved by any player in any series.

Unfathomable and unlikely - but not impossible; it is worth noting Smith scored 293 runs while steering Australia to victory at Old Trafford.

The superstar is returning to the Oval, scene of his maiden Test ton in 2013, then the launching pad of a stunning run of Ashes form.

Smith's recent rampage against England, which has featured 1501 runs at 136.45 from 13 consecutive innings, started with a match-winning 143 at the inner-city ground in 2015.

It was the first of seven Ashes tons during the streak, which has prompted immense praise from greats Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting, plus captain Tim Paine and coach Justin Langer.

with AAP