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Steve Smith tells Nasser Hussain about his batting technique ahead of the Ashes

"I reckon I average 15 to 20 hours sleep throughout a Test, but it's all positive stuff - who's bowling at me, where I am going to hit them"

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Nasser Hussain catches up with Australia batsman Steve Smith in the nets to learn about his technical plans at the crease

Steve Smith proved England's nemesis during the 2017-18 Ashes.

The batsman scored 687 runs in five Tests at an average of 137.40, with three hundreds and two fifties, as Australia regained the Ashes with a thumping 4-0 win.

Ahead of this summer's series, and with Smith back in Test whites following the ball-tampering scandal, Nasser Hussain caught up with the 30-year-old to get the lowdown on his mental and technical thoughts at the crease, his superstitions and more...

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Is Smith an unorthodox batsman?

SMITH SAYS: Perhaps the way I move, my prelim movement. My basic fundamentals are there once I get myself in a still position, my head is still. From there I don't think I'm too unorthodox. My bat does go out to gully or point on occasions but it comes back round. Your swing is really natural and it's not something, if I were coaching, that I would like to change. It works for me. I grew up watching Mark Waugh play, he was my favourite player. He used to come out and around a little bit. Maybe I got something from him.

What are keys for Smith at the crease?

SMITH SAYS: What I've learnt over the years is you want to limit the ways you get out. If you are getting out all different ways you start thinking about things and try to change things. I have moved so far across to off stump knowing that if the ball is outside my eyeline, I don't have to play it and if it's on my pads I just have to hit it, essentially. If I miss it and get out lbw I am okay with that as the majority of balls I'll hit and I'll score a lot of runs while I do so.

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Steve Smith
Image: Smith will bat at No 4 for Australia at Edgbaston

What are the most difficult balls to face?

SMITH SAYS: A good length is the only one that should really trouble you. If it's a half-volley, I feel you should hit it, if it's too short, you should be able to hit it. Getting a big stride in and your hands out in front or coming down the wicket minimises that good length for a bowler. I come down the wicket now and again, particularly if someone is bowling accurately.

Where does Smith's hunger for runs come from?

SMITH SAYS: I don't particularly like watching cricket that much. When you get out you have got to sit in the stands and watch someone else do it, so I prefer to be out doing it myself. I love batting, I love being out in the middle.

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Smith tells Nasser Hussain about his cricket superstitions and idiosyncrasies

Any superstitions?

SMITH SAYS: People say I am a little bit weird with the way I go about things, it's a fine line. I wear football socks and I actually tape my shoelaces to my socks. I don't like anything to be putting me off. I don't have an excuse of the shoelaces coming off.

How much does Smith sleep much during a Test match?

SMITH SAYS: I am an awful sleeper. In Test matches, I reckon I average 15 to 20 hours throughout the whole five days. It's all positive stuff - who's bowling at me, where I am going to hit them, how I'm going to play, where I'm going to look to score. I don't very often get many of those negative thoughts. When I do, I shut them out pretty quickly.

Watch England take on Australia in this summer's Ashes series, live on Sky Sports The Ashes (channel 404) and Main Event from 10am on Thursday. Click here to upgrade now.

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