Ashes bosses back Steve Smith to come good as captain
The coaches of the two Ashes sides, who have both had important roles in the development of Steven Smith, are certain the star batsman is the right man to take over the captaincy of Australia.
London: The coaches of the two Ashes sides, who have both had important roles in the development of Steven Smith, are certain the star batsman is the right man to take over the captaincy of Australia.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland effectively confirmed the 26-year-old Smith in the job on Sunday once current skipper Michael Clarke retires from international duty following the end of the ongoing Ashes series.
Clarke, almost in tears, announced his impending retirement after England`s innings and 78-run win in the fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge on Saturday saw them take an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.
He will lead the side one more time in Tests at The Oval in south London, where the series finale gets underway on August 20.
Smith has already captained Australia in Tests, against India during the last home season when Clarke was sidelined with a hamstring injury, and made hundreds in all three Tests where he was skipper.
Trevor Bayliss, England`s Australian coach, gave Smith his first taste of senior leadership responsibility when he he made him captain of the Sydney Sixers in the domestic Twenty20 Big Bash League competition.
"He`s shown it already in Test cricket earlier this year," said Bayliss of Smith`s aptitude for Test leadership. "He`s a very proactive type of captain.
"I think he`ll do a fantastic job, and certainly has the respect of the rest of his team-mates.
"They know he is one hell of a player, and a very good captain."
Meanwhile, Australia coach Darren Lehmann had no fears that captaincy would damage Smith`s batting.
"It improved Michael`s batting and hopefully it`s the same for Steven, he`s a good player," Lehmann said. "It`ll be a smooth transition."
Former Australia batsman Lehmann takes the traditional view that a captain, rather than a coach, should be the key man in leading the team but said he was happy to divide up responsibility in whatever way best suited Smith.
"It`s really a case of how he wants to play," explained Lehmann.
"He`ll be aggressive, as all Australian captains have been. But I think he`ll work out what works for him on and off the field the best."
Smith`s first Tests as full-time captain are set to be during a two-match series in Bangladesh in October, which comes ahead of a home three-Test series with New Zealand.