Marsh Sheffield Shield 2019-20
Refreshed Smith ready to resume run-scoring
Australia batsman's epic Ashes series left him drained but a break has restored his hunger, which spells bad news for Sheffield Shield opponents Queensland
9 October 2019, 12:54 PM AEST
Steve Smith is back fresh and ready for runs after admitting a marathon Ashes campaign left him feeling cooked.
The master batsman spent more than 32 hours at the crease helping drive Australia's retention of the famous urn in arguably his best series to date.
He revealed on Wednesday that the physically-exhausting effort of compiling 774 runs at an average of 110.57 left him with a serious case of fatigue.
But after a rare two-week break from practice after arriving home, Smith believes ahead of his Marsh Sheffield Shield return for NSW against Queensland on Thursday that he's ready for another big summer of runs.
"It was probably a bit of everything: mental, emotional, physical," he said of the gruelling tour.
"Towards the last Test match it got to day two and my mind was saying keep going but my body had shut down and wouldn't let me do anything.
"I was a little bit sick after that.
"I've had a good couple of weeks just to lay low. I just got back into things over the past week.
"I've had three hits now. That will be enough to be ready to go for this first Shield game."
It's a warning the Queensland Bulls as well as the Pakistan and New Zealand's tour squads should heed.
While lethal wherever he bats, Smith has always been at his best at home.
Since establishing himself as a member of the national team in 2013, he's averaged 83.74 on Australian Test wickets.
He also needs just 27 runs in his next six Test innings to become the fastest batsman to 7000 runs, eclipsing Walter Hammond's mark that has stood since the 1940s.
Thursday's Shield match at the Gabba will mark Smith's first first-class game in Australia since the ball-tampering affair in South Africa last March.
The last impact of that affair will end after the home series against Pakistan and New Zealand, with Smith's leadership ban set to expire in late March.
It will no doubt pose questions over whether he should regain the captaincy whenever it is that Tim Paine steps aside.
There was a thought Smith's batting improved without the added burden of leading the team during the Ashes series, however he could still be seen having a impact on team tactics on the field.
"I'm not even thinking about that (captaincy) at the moment," he said.
"I was pretty chilled out the whole time (in England). I'm obviously pretty intense when I am out there batting but I help out wherever I can.
"I don't want to sit back and not say something if I think it might help us.
"We will cross that bridge later if it comes. At the moment I am comfortable and Tim is doing a great job."
Queensland will host NSW in the Marsh Sheffield Shield opener at the Gabba from 10am local time (11am AEDT) from Thursday, October 10 with a free live stream via cricket.com.au and the CA Live app, including Apple TV.
Queensland squad: Usman Khawaja (c), Joe Burns, Cameron Gannon, Sam Heazlett, Charlie Hemphrey, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, James Peirson, Matthew Renshaw, Billy Stanlake, Mark Steketee, Mitch Swepson.