Steve Smith poses for a photo with a fan. Picture: AAP
Steve Smith poses for a photo with a fan. Picture: AAP

Proof Smith could be in for a massive World Cup

STEVE Smith came sprinting towards the pavilion carrying plenty of cricket gear late in the afternoon at Australia's first training session in Southampton.

It appeared he urgently needed to go to the toilet. Or perhaps he was running late for a meeting.

Nope, Smith was simply in a hurry to ditch his bat and pads so he could cram in as much slips catching practice as possible, under the watchful eyes of coaches Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting.

What made Smith's four-hour training session impressive was that only he and Usman Khawaja joined Australia's fast bowlers for the optional day.

As the likes of captain Aaron Finch and David Warner and Glenn Maxwell took a well-earned rest - most likely lazing around the hotel or having a hit of golf - Smith had to be dragged off the training oval at about 4pm.

A series of diving slips catches showed Smith's reflexes remain ultra-sharp and he has honed a new diving technique that helps protect his surgically-repaired right elbow.

As the quicks wrapped up their session, Smith jogged in for close-range slips catches, this time mimicking the edge off a spinner.

Smith has long looked to hit more balls than any other player and before the 30 minutes of catching practice he stepped into the centre wicket to face a fiery spell of bowling from the quicks that had him ducking and rising at times.

Steve Smith at an Australian training session.
Steve Smith at an Australian training session.

He looks good, Smith, and just two weeks into his return for Australia he might already be the country's best trainer.

In London Smith was keen to bowl as much as possible, both in the nets and during match simulation, and in Southampton they couldn't stop him doing everything else.

"He loves batting," Langer said at the weekend.

"He's shadow batting on the sand, he's shadow batting in the shower - I'm not joking."

With a World Cup and Ashes around the corner, it is pleasing to see Smith doing all that he can to once again be the best that he can.

And, on training form, you'd have to back the cricket tragic in to post some big scores.