Say what you will about Steve Smith. The fact remains that he needs support if Australia is to experience cricket success at the international level, on both sides of the bowl.

In the recent tour of India, where the Aussies tantilised with the prospect of success, before ultimately crashing and burning, Smith poste the fifth highest ICC rating in the history of Test.

He maintained the lofty 941 rating after grinding out a century in Dharamsala, leaving him just one point in arrears of a mark established by Jack Hobbs in 1912 and Ricky Ponting in 2006.

That, mate, is rarefied atmosphere and if he continues him programme of continuous improvement, he could easily catch Len Hutton from 1954, and then focus on the unlikely catch of 961 from the immortal Don Bradman.

Smith stands alone as the only Aussie batsman to score three Test centuries in a single tour of India.

Some other statistics that seem to defy reality are Smith’s total of 5,251 runs in 54 Tests and 100 innings. His average stands at 61.05 with a strike rate of 56.9 and he has no fewer than 20 half centuries and 20 centuries.

Bottom line, this is a once-in-a-lifetime player that deserves more respect, but more importantly, deserves a supporting cast of average or above average competence to put the Australian side more often in the win column.