Stokes: Strange Smith is a genius

By Sports Desk April 29, 2020

Ben Stokes has described Australia legend Steve Smith as both "strange" and a "genius".

The two are international rivals, with England all-rounder Stokes on the opposite side of the bitter Ashes divide.

However, they are team-mates with the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League and Stokes sees the same qualities in Smith whether he is playing with him or against him.

"He is still strange to play against and he's still strange to play with, and the best thing about it is that he admits it, he knows it," Stokes told the Rajasthan Royals Podcast.

"But I feel to be a genius you have to be a bit strange and you know he's certainly both.

"Even though he plays for Australia, biggest rivals of England, you've just got to hold your hands up sometimes to players like that and say, 'Yes, you're on a different level when it comes to batting.'"

Smith enjoyed a stunning Ashes series in England last year, scoring 774 runs in four matches at an average of 110.57.

Stokes was the hosts' star performer, his 441 runs coming at an average of 55.12, but he considers himself a fundamentally different type of batsman to Smith, who he says is "on all the time".

"I could never be like that," said Stokes. "Personally, I could not think about cricket in the way that Steve does when it comes to batting.

"Obviously, he's on all the time. That's why he averages 60 [62.84] after whatever he does in Test cricket. But that's not for me. It is for him, [and] who's to say who is right or wrong."

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