Smith put down the bat for a month

·2-min read

It took a global pandemic and niggling injuries but Steve Smith is embracing a less-is-more approach after going four weeks without picking up a cricket bat.

Smith will play his first Sheffield Shield game of the summer for NSW when play begins on Wednesday, as part of a star-studded SCG clash against Victoria.

The Test star marked his return to Blues colours with 127 from 124 balls on Monday in a one-day match against the Victorians.

Remarkably it came with virtually no practice, putting the bat away as he enjoyed his first time out of cricket's COVID-19 bubble in six months.

Smith is a self-confessed cricket tragic and footage emerged during the summer of him shadow batting in his whites in hotel rooms.

But the 31-year-old was happy to admit he needed a break when the tour of South Africa was postponed.

"I haven't faced any bowlers. (Monday) was the first day in about a month," Smith said.

"Sometimes you need to (step back). I am getting old now. I need to take every break I can get.

"After a big summer, when South Africa got called off it was just about relaxing.

"I had a few little niggles with my tennis elbow and my wrist that has been playing up all summer.

"So I just stayed away from it for as long as I could."

Smith also took the time to refresh mentally, after barely seeing his wife Dani since last August.

Since then, he toured England, played in the IPL, served his quarantine in Australia and played in the Test bubble at home.

"It's a different (kind of tired)," Smith said.

"I think I gained a bit of energy and rejuvenation.

"Living in the bubbles for six months, I didn't see Dani for five and a bit months I think it was.

"It wasn't easy but you've got to do what you got to do."

However, Smith's hunger for runs doesn't change when playing for NSW, averaging 64.24 for the Blues in Shield cricket since 2013.

This week's matches will shape as a rare prospect for Smith and Australia's front-line bowling attack, given there is no Test to follow.

While Pat Cummins is rested this week, he along with Smith, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon have routinely played early-season Shield games in recent years.

But Smith himself has not played post-Christmas and without the next Test on the horizon since the Shield final in 2014.

"Maybe for bowlers who are trying to build up for for a Test series (it's different)," Smith said.

"But for me it's the same old thing. Just trying to score runs."