Steve Smith's manager has rubbished rumours the 34-year-old could be set to follow David Warner into Test retirement during the Aussie summer of cricket. Smith has been at the centre of persistent speculation that he's contemplating giving away red-ball cricket, with Michael Vaughan sending the rumour mill into overdrive during this year's Ashes series.
Smith was forced to deny the retirement talk in July after the former England captain said he heard unattributed "whispers" within cricket circles that the batting superstar was preparing to hang up the gloves. "I'm not retiring," Smith said. "I have no idea (where it's come from), because I haven't said it to anyone. I am not going anywhere yet," he said at the time.
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With Warner revealing that he hopes to retire from Test cricket after his home Test at the SCG against Pakistan in January, focus has shifted to Smith and other senior members of the Australian Test team in their mid-30s. Usman Khawaja (36), Nathan Lyon (36) and Mitchell Starc (33) are also among the older brigade in the Aussie Test side, with Lyon indicating his desire to return to England for the next away Ashes series in 2027.
In terms of Smith, the former Aussie captain has done little to quash the retirement rumours that continue to swirl around him ahead of the Aussie summer of cricket. However, the 34-year-old manager Warren Craig has emphatically shut down any suggestions the 9,320-run Test batting ace will walk away from red-ball cricket after the upcoming series against Pakistan and the West Indies.
"I can debunk that at this point in time," Craig told the Sydney Morning Herald. "He's still talking about things he wants to achieve." While Smith has achieved more than most after World Cup triumphs at T20 and ODI level, as well as Ashes series victories and a World Test Championship title with Australia in 2023, the batting superstar still has a couple of major career milestones to tick off his list.
Steve Smith has unfinished business in Test cricket
Smith has never won a Test series win away to powerhouse India, or been part of an Australian touring party to emerge victorious from an Ashes series in England. The 34-year-old came close to ticking the second milestone off his list with the Aussie Test side this year but after taking a 2-0 series lead in England, had to settle for a 2-2 draw that ultimately saw them retain the Ashes.
The Aussie vice-captain goes into the three-Test series against Pakistan - starting in Perth on December 14 - averaging a staggering 58.61 to sit among the finest batters to ever represent the nation at Test level. Only the legendary Sir Donald Bradman has a higher average (99.94) than Smith, in terms of Aussies that have played more than 20 Tests.
Smith will no doubt be desperate to return to the sort of run-scoring form that has earned him as reputation as one of the world's best batters after a lean year by his standards in 2023. The 34-year-old averages just 34 in nine Tests since the end of the last summer of cricket in Australia, albeit in brutally difficult away series in spin-friendly India and the Ashes series in England.
The veteran batter will line up for the Sydney Sixers' first match in this season's Big Bash League, before turning his attentions to the Aussie Test side. The 34-year-old is expected to return to play for the Sixers in a blockbuster Sydney showdown against the Thunder on January 12 - in a likely showdown with Warner, fresh from his dream Test farewell at the SCG.
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