‘A little weird’: Smith’s Ashes superstitions
Steve Smith has taken a lot of strides in the past 15 months since his ball-tampering ban, both personally and professionally.
Unfortunately, those idiosyncratic, quirky elements in his game were not part of the 30-year-old's personal growth.
He left the game as an obsessive, manic, over-analyser and he returns every bit the unique cricketer that emerged as the best batsman in the world.
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Playing in his first test since the Cape Town sandpapergate scandal saw him banned for 12 months and stripped of the captaincy, Smith already concedes that his habit of "shadow batting" in front of the hotel mirror and counting sheep deep into the early hours of the morning won't change when the first Test begins at Edgbaston on Thursday night (EST).
He's told former England captain Nasser Hussain for Skysports.com, that he will only get 15 hours of sleep during the entire five days of the Test.
More significant that his acceptance of fleeting insomnia, is how comfortable he is with the predicament.
"I am an awful sleeper," Smith said.
"In Test matches, I reckon I average 15 to 20 hours throughout the whole five days. It's all positive stuff - who's bowling at me, where I am going to hit them, how I'm going to play, where I'm going to look to score.
"I don't very often get many of those negative thoughts. When I do, I shut them out pretty quickly."
He accepts his quirky nature - whether it be the extra training sessions he conducts on top of his team training sessions, or the strange follow through habits he's picked up - makes him something of a "weird" player for Aussie fans to get a read on.
If anything the rough edges on his unique personality have only been further entrenched in his break away from the sport.
"People say I am a little bit weird with the way I go about things, it's a fine line," Smith said of his superstitions.
"I wear football socks and I actually tape my shoelaces to my socks. I don't like anything to be putting me off. I don't have an excuse of the shoelaces coming off."
Hussain has marked Smith the dangerman in the Australian batting order once again after the former skipper plundered 687 runs in five Tests at an average of 137.40, with three hundreds and two fifties as Australia regained the Ashes with a thumping 4-0 win during the 2017-18 summer.
Smith will have the added scrutiny of being taunted by the Barmy Army during the series and England captain Joe Root has already said the ball-tempering trio shouldn't expect any intervention from the English team if the heckling begins to get out of hand.
Root said he won't follow Virat Kohli's lead regarding the barrage of boos set to be unleashed on Thursday night when Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft make their returns.