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Plenty at stake for Oz all-rounder Smith in ODIs against Poms

July 1, 2012 - London

Australian all-rounder Steve Smith, who earned in the vicinity of a million dollars as one of Australia's highest paid players last year, is now being made to sing for his supper.

As Australia enters the second of the five-match one-day international series against England at the Oval today, the 23-year-old New South Welshman is under pressure, as he has been given another chance to retain his place in the team, which could help him regain the Cricket Australia contract he was stripped of last month.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, players not in the contract initial list can be upgraded to a national contract and a guaranteed income of 230,000 dollars should they make enough appearances for Australia at Test, one-day or Twenty20 level.

Smith is one of those players, brushed from the group to receive automatic retainers, but who is striving via regular selection to force his way back into the fold.

The incentive to perform under the new structure could hardly be more plainly laid out, but Smith will want to prove his worth to Michael Clarke's one-day team on this brief tour of England if he is to retain a chance of such an elevation.

He did not leave much of an impression in the first game, which England won by 15 runs.

His ODI record, as yet, is not exactly world-class either, boasting a top score of 46 in 31 matches and taking only one wicket in his past eight games, four of which he did not bowl in.

Skipper Michael Clarke, however, is a staunch supporter of his state colleague.

"Look, he's a very talented all-rounder as we've seen for a while now. He can bat, bowl and is as good as anyone in the field. I'd love to see him put his hand up and make some runs. He's batting at No.6, a crucial position, not having Michael Hussey here. He's been bowling every day in the nets, and it looks like he's been coming out of his hand well, and his fielding is as good as anyone in the world at the moment," Clarke said.


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