Australia back under-fire Smith in T20s

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Australia will persist with Steve Smith in the Twenty20 squad, believing they can unlock the Test star's true potential in the shortest format of the game.

The 33-year-old's position in the middle-order has come under question after a prolonged slump in T20Is.

Smith's last T20 half-century for Australia came back in November 2019 and he was barely needed during the run to last year's drought-breaking World Cup title as Mitchell Marsh and Matthew Wade were the batting heroes.

The former Australian captain averages 25.45 at a strike-rate of 125 from 56 matches in T20s.

Josh Inglis performed exceptionally well when called upon for Australia's home series against Sri Lanka in February but he's been squeezed out for Smith for three matches against the Lions in Colombo and Kandy.

Smith was not required to bat in game one against Sri Lanka but he unsuccessfully challenged a lbw decision on Wednesday night and was out for five as Australia won both matches.

"Recent history, we've used (Smith) in a different way throughout our middle order, where people have batted around him," Australia assistant coach Michael Di Venuto said.

"We know his skill level, we know his talent so we're pretty keen to unlock him as a T20 cricketer and just let him go about his business and show us how good he is.

"If he was playing BBL cricket, he would dominate that competition.

"Unfortunately, a lot of our best players don't play that competition because they play Test matches.

"Steven's had good success in the IPL in years gone past.

"The skill level is exceptionally high, we're hoping to unlock him during this period.

"We've got plenty of games leading into the World Cup so hopefully we see the best of Steve Smith."

Di Venuto says Inglis could not be working harder to earn a recall but will have to bide his time for now.

"We've got very good players in our batting order and it's a hard order to break into," he said.

"He's doing all the work behind the scenes, he's a very valued member of this squad and waiting for his next chance."

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