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Steve Smith decision that backfired brutally on Aussie cricket team in T20 World Cup flop

Mark Taylor believes the decision to not pick Steve Smith proved costly.

Aussie cricket fans were left bewildered by the decision to leave Jake Fraser-McGurk and Steve Smith out of the T20 World Cup squad, while veterans Marcus Stoinis and David Warner made the team. And after being knocked out of the tournament after losses to India and Afghanistan, Aussie fans have been left to wonder what could have been.

Fraser-McGurk being omitted from the side was a surprise to many after the young Aussie had been somewhat of a revelation for Australia in T20 cricket having made 257 runs in the latest Big Bash tournament. He also stunned home fans when he debuted for Australia smashing 41 runs off 18 balls against the West Indies earlier this year. Fraser-McGurk then took the IPL by storm, racking up a whopping 330 runs, including four half-centuries at a stunning strike rate of 234 for the Delhi Capitals. But it still wasn't enough to secure his spot at the T20 World Cup.

Pictured left David Warner and right Steve Smith
Australian cricket great Mark Taylor believes the decision to not pick Steve Smith proved costly. Image: Getty

While Smith was also left out of Australia's World Cup squad despite being a mainstay for the Aussies across all three forms of the game. The Australian cricketer was admittedly out of form in white ball cricket but his omission still came as a shock.

Smith's exclusion marked the first time he had not been selected for an Australia squad - other than for injury - in more than a decade, last missing a World Cup back in 2012. And even though he wasn't in the best form, many felt he should have been there for his level head and experience.

Prior to the event former Australian Test captain Mark Taylor said Australia was in the perfect position to win the T20 World Cup but could end up regretting the decision to not select Smith especially given the trying pitches in the Caribbean.

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"The worry for me and it's the only worry Australia has got is if things don't go well at the top and they play on some slow pitches which they will in the Caribbean, they might lose a little bit without Smith," Taylor said prior to the T20 World Cup.

"His ability to build an innings, which you don't really get a huge opportunity in T20 cricket. But they might miss that steady hand in the middle just to rebuild things a bit."

And the Australian cricket great's fears have since been realised with the Aussies failing to reach even the semi-final after losses to India and inexplicably Afghanistan in the Super Eights sealed their fate. Speaking to Wide World of Sports, Taylor said it was clear that Australia missed Smith's calming presence.

"I still think Australia should have picked Steve Smith and I thought that when they first left him out of the squad," he said. "If you look at the Afghanistan game, when you get a slow, turning wicket as they did, I would want Steve Smith in my side. He has the tools to play well in those conditions more than most players in that Australian side, if not all of them.

Australia's Steve Smith looks on before the third Twenty20 international cricket match between New Zealand and Australia at Eden Park in Auckland on February 25, 2024. (Photo by MICHAEL BRADLEY / AFP) (Photo by MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP via Getty Images)
Smith's T20 World Cup snub marked the first time he had not been selected for an Australia squad - other than due to injury - in more than a decade. Image: Getty

"That's where I think Australia missed out. Smith batting anywhere from four to seven would have been better than the players that we had on a slow, turning wicket. If you get those sorts of surfaces, you want players who are good batters and not just necessarily good hitters. That's why I reiterate that I would have had Steve Smith over other players because you don't know what you're going to get when you're away."

However, Taylor didn't believe Fraser-McGurk would have fared any better than Warner and doesn't believe the decision to leave him out proved anywhere near as costly as the call to snub Smith. "With the Fraser-McGurk and Warner thing, I think that was a 50/50 call. You could have gone either way and mounted a good case either way on who should play. I don't think that made a lot of difference," Taylor said.

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