It has been an extraordinary season for Steve Smith, one of the greatest individual summers for any batsman. The format didn't matter – Twenty20, one-day internationals or Test matches, he dominated them all.
Improbable as it seems now, it's easy to forget Smith wasn't even in the Australia XI for the summer's opening ODI against South Africa in Perth.
Michael Clarke's hamstring gave him the opportunity, and Smith didn't look back – 254 runs in four matches at 84.66 followed.
Then came the remarkable 769 runs in the four Tests of the Border-Gavaskar series at 128.17 alongside his elevation to the Test captaincy as Clarke recovered from hamstring surgery.
He then hit 226 runs at 75.33 in the Carlton Mid ODI Tri-Series that followed against India and England. The icing on the cake came at the 2015 World Cup where Smith smashed five successive scores above 50, including a century against India in the semi-final, leading to Australia's fifth title.
Smith now hopes to carry this same form into the IPL as he prepares to turn out for the Shane Watson-led Rajasthan Royals.
I have really enjoyed being involved in the IPL. It's been a great learning experience.
- Smith told Indian daily Mid-Day ahead of his side's opening match on Friday.
"I got the exposure to the subcontinent conditions. It is nice to be playing with and against the best players all around the world and learning from them."
Teams feature in a minimum of 14 games in the IPL over 45 days, and on occasions are playing in a game every two or three days. Smith said this also was a factor that helped him develop his game even further.
"Another positive is that you face the same situations again and again," he explained.
"You play competitive matches quite close to each other. You might not do the right thing one day, but you face the same situation again and you might succeed then.
"The last couple of years have been very enjoyable. It is nice to contribute in a few wins first with (the now defunct) Pune Warriors and then with Rajasthan Royals last time. It is great to be involved with them again."
Source - Cricket Australia