Steve Smith's omission from Australia's XI for the second T20 against England on Wednesday night appears to be the final nail in the coffin for the former captain.
The Aussies rolled out what appears to be their preferred XI for the World Cup on Wednesday night in Canberra, leaving Smith to carry the drinks once again.
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The prolific batsman has been left out of three of the last four matches, playing only in the second T20 against the West Indies last week.
On Wednesday night against England, captain Aaron Finch moved back to the top of the order alongside David Warner, with Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David and Matthew Wade rounding out the top seven.
With front-line bowlers Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Adam Zampa all returning, the line-up appears to be what Australia will go with at the upcoming World Cup.
That means there will be no room for Smith, whose form in T20s hasn't mirrored his prolific efforts in Tests and ODIs in recent years.
"I think Steve Smith is going to get squeezed out – I love him in the Test and ODI team, but in T20 cricket there’s no room for him," Aussie great and Fox Sports commentator Brendon Julian told news.com.au.
"Tim David has to play, Stoinis must play and Marsh must bat three. Aaron Finch has also now put himself in a position where he can bat 1-4 so he can do Steve Smith’s role, if required."
The writing was on the wall for Smith when Cameron Green – who isn't even in Australia's World Cup squad – played ahead of him in the West Indies series and the first T20 against England.
Australia clearly plans to bring Green into the squad if anyone goes down injured during the World Cup, with the young all-rounder to come straight into the XI ahead of Smith.
“They’ve made a mistake in not picking Cameron Green. It's as simple as that,” Michael Clarke told Big Sports Breakfast earlier this week.
Former Aussie captain Clarke was scathing of the fact that Green has been prioritised ahead of Smith, despite not being in the World Cup squad.
“Steve Smith can open the batting in T20 cricket. He’s in the squad, he’s a big chance of playing in this World Cup so surely you need him batting, making runs (and) in form," Clarke said.
"At this stage Cameron Green’s not in the World Cup. That’s what has been a little strange.
“My reason always for (including) someone like a Steve Smith in your team is because not all conditions are the same, if we lose two for not many, you’ve got one of the world’s best batsmen coming in."
England wrapped up the three-match series against Australia on Wednesday, posting 7-178 courtesy of a 49-ball 82 from man-of-the-match Dawid Malan, before all-rounder Sam Curran took 3-25 with the ball.
The loss again highlighted fragility in the Australian batting line-up, particularly at the top of the order where Finch (13 off 13 balls) and Warner (four off 11) failed to fire.
The duo could barely keep the scoreboard ticking and left their team just 2-22 in the fifth over, their teammates unable to pull off the rescue mission.
Marsh (45) looked poised to steer a comeback before Curran sent him packing, while David continued to impress early in his Australian T20 tenure, smacking five fours and a six in his 40 off 23 balls.
However questions marks remain over Maxwell, who scored eight on Wednesday to take his tally to just 16 runs in his last six T20 internationals.
Some fans took to social media to suggest Smith should return to the XI in place of Maxwell.
Sad to see. Best of the world cricket Steve Smith isn't getting the respect and game which he deserves more than Finch, Maxwell and stoinis.
— Punjab Kings (@PunjabKingsCult) October 12, 2022
Steve Smith not playing so should play for NSW In lead up to tests forget the T20. Cricket is putting tests 2nd in my view bit Sad
— Dan Smith Zampa Stapleton (@Dan_Stapo) October 12, 2022
Mark my words if smith doesn't play t20 world cup his reputation won't be lost but if Australia loses it reason is absence of steve Smith
Reason he is a better bowler than maxwell,better batsman than Mitchell marsh in t20s
— steve reddy (@prasidhar_reddi) October 12, 2022
He should be dropped right away get Smith in Maxwell not an international package, he doesn’t take any seriousness on the game
— nirmal kumar (@nimme1980) October 12, 2022
Should give Steve Smith a chance in his place…both of them should be fighting for this position
— MEM (@BigMoe90133612) October 12, 2022
Shame on Finch, Australian TM and selectors for dropping their greatest Test Batter in Steve Smith in the lead up to World Cup,that too against their Ashes rivals in England.
Imagine the dent on his morale.#AusvEng
— Akash Kumar Jha (@Akashkumarjha14) October 12, 2022
Steve Smith is always a learner… Still I believe he and Maxwell will come out nicely during this 🏴 tour and in World Cup… Best of luck Smudga… 💙 https://t.co/4yXEewbjRE
— . (@Sourabh_49) October 9, 2022
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