Smith the man to beat in Border Medal race
A STERLING year during which Australian captain Steve Smith piled on 1754 runs across all three formats should secure him a second Allan Border Medal on Monday night.
And, according to Hall of Fame inductee Ricky Ponting, Smith's capacity to produce again and again in a not-so-great team all while carrying the captain's badge cannot be understated.
Test tweaker Nathan Lyon realistically could challenge Smith in the medal voting, after the off-spinner turned into a consistent matchwinner through 2017 with 62 wickets.
But having joined Matthew Hayden as the only player to make more than 1000 Test runs in a calendar year for a fourth time, Smith's efforts, plus the fact he also got a few runs in coloured clothing, should get him over the line.
Ponting will be inducted in the Australian cricket Hall of Fame after his own stellar career netted more runs and centuries than any Australian bat in history. He knows what it takes, and knows Smith should be applauded.
"International cricket is not an easy sport, and to get yourself up for every single minute of every day's play through the year is not an easy thing to do," he said.
RUNS FOR DAYS
The Steve Smith collection, January 8, 2017 to January 8, 2018
(across Tests, ODIs and T20I games)