Former fast bowler Mitchell Johnson has criticized Steve Smith, suggesting the cricket legend is only continuing his T20 career to line his pockets.
Australia suffered three rain delays on their way to a clean sweep of their T20I series against New Zealand on Sunday, claiming a 27-run victory in Auckland.
However, former captain Smith failed to impress once again as he bids to make the squad for June’s T20 World Cup.
T20 cricket is the only form of the game that the 34-year-old great has not mastered and many have said he should quit to concentrate on Tests and one-day matches.
Johnson has suggested that Smith persists in doing so to establish himself financially in the future.
Mitchell Johnson has suggested that Steve Smith only continues to play T20 cricket for the ‘pay cheques’.
Steve Smith has failed to impress in T20 cricket with a recent run of poor form putting his place in the upcoming World Cup in jeopardy.
“I wonder if T20 international cricket is something he really wants to play,” Johnson wrote in a column for The nocturnal.
“Of course, he will most likely play in a few different leagues around the world when he finishes his Test career, so perhaps there is a carrot dangling in the sense that he wants to perform at international level and in a World Cup to increase your chances of playing in leagues where you can earn big salaries.
Johnson then added that the only spot available for Smith would be as a starter.
“That gives you time to come in and take a look, and once that happens, you can walk around the entire park,” he said.
“And with Australia’s explosive batting attack, that could be a good fit for Smith.” But Australia need to see him score and do that job consistently before he can be considered for the World Cup.”
Johnson previously made headlines when he launched a stunning attack on recently retired Test opener David Warner, saying he did not deserve a “hero’s farewell” from the game after his involvement in the Sandpapergate cheating scandal.
Meanwhile, Smith has all but admitted he will miss the T20 World Cup after his poor performance in New Zealand, saying he is “not too worried” about whether he will attend the tournament in June.
“To be fair, I got a couple of decent balls,” Smith said.
On Friday, he swung at a ball rising well outside off stump, hitting it from behind, and on Sunday he was trapped in front of Lockie Ferguson, arguably the bowler of the series.
Smith says he’s ‘not too worried’ about attending World Cup in June
The Australian great has absolutely dominated the Test and ODI formats for the last 15 years.
“(Adam) Milne managed to get one in the second game, which was tough,” Smith said.
‘Lockie, as the sun was setting, it was quite difficult to answer and gave me a good swinger.
“Look, it wasn’t ideal, but it is what it is and whatever will be from here on out.”
Smith, a three-time World Cup winner including the 2021 T20 edition, said he did not believe there was a vacancy for him in the T20 side.
“To be honest, I think they’re pretty settled at the top, with (Travis) Head, Warner and (Mitch) Marsh in the top three,” he said.
‘I’m not really sure what (the selectors) want to do. I’m really not too worried either way. If I’m there, I’m there. If I’m not, I’m not.
Exclusion from the World Cup squad could end his international T20 career, but Smith’s relaxed attitude on the matter was in contrast to his enthusiasm for the upcoming Test series.
In his 107-Test career, Smith has toured New Zealand for Tests only once and dominated.
He averaged 131 in a two-Test series in 2016, making 71 at Basin Reserve, then fell back with 138 and an unbeaten 53 at Hagley Oval, the venues for this year’s series.