As the build-up to the upcoming Ashes series in June and July heats up, Australia's vice captain Steve Smith has responded to Stuart Broad's claims that the previous Ashes series was "void" due to COVID-19 restrictions. Smith finds Broad's claims strange, noting that the whole world is currently facing a challenging phase, not just the touring England side. He highlighted that the players are fortunate to be able to play cricket during such trying times.
Drubbed during the pandemic
In the previous Ashes series, played during the COVID-19 pandemic, England were defeated 4-0 by Australia, with several players, including Australian captain Pat Cummins, missing matches due to the virus. England had to undergo a 14-day quarantine period before playing the series opener, and the entire series was played under strict bio-bubble restrictions.
Stuart Broad's assertion that the 2021-22 Ashes series should not be considered a 'real Ashes' and should be considered 'void' received a critical response, particularly from Australia.
"I mean, it was a little odd," Steve Smith said.
Wasn't the ideal scenario
Smith has arrived in the UK and is currently playing for Sussex in the County Championships Division 2 to prepare for the upcoming Ashes series. Although he faced some difficulties with his form during the India tour, he contributed to a remarkable victory in the 3rd Test as the stand-in captain in February-March.
"We were all there and playing, so it was a little bit odd, you know? He's a nice guy and loves throwing out some good banter, so it's all part of it.
"It certainly wasn't an ideal scenario. But the whole world was going through it, and we were in the middle of a pandemic, so we couldn't really complain too much.
"We were actually out there being able to do what we love, so I don't really have much more to add to it," Smith said.
Tough challenge ahead
In the last Ashes, Smith could only score 244 runs, but he has had a successful history in England, particularly in 2019, when he scored an impressive 744 runs.
Despite that, Australia is expected to face a tough challenge against an energetic England team, led by new captain Ben Stokes and coached by Brendon McCullum, who have won 10 out of their 12 recent matches.
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