Debate over whether Steve Smith should have been named Australia’s Test captain continues to rage, with a former England star claiming Australia got the decision wrong.
While Smith returned to an official leadership role, named as new captain Pat Cummins‘ deputy, ex-England quick Steve Harmison said Smith should be the skipper instead.
“I don’t think this is the Australia of old … it’s a big call,” he told the Cricket Collective podcast.
“I think England would be happier with Cummins than Steve Smith. For me, if you put too much pressure on Pat in the Ashes that could prove the difference, because both batting units are frail and can be got at.
“I look at that decision being a big gamble for Australia. If there is nobody else, fine. I am not Australian, but I think if you had a natural leader there who has done the job before, you would have to go with him.
“If I was an Australian, I would not have a problem with Steve Smith coming back.”
While Harmison is a supporter of Smith’s, others have not been so complimentary, as Smith himself predicted, with former Australian skipper Ian Chappell particularly scathing in his assessment.
However, Smith has another ex-skipper in his corner, with Mark Taylor calling him the perfect deputy for a first-time captain in Cummins.
“[Cummins] will do a different job to what we’ve seen [from old captains],” Taylor said on 2GB’s Wide World of Sports Radio.
“Because he’s a fast bowler and because he’ll be required to huff and puff and knock guys over and bowl long spells and at times really bend the back, he’s going to need some help out there in between those overs to get the field right, to get the bowlers right, to make sure other things aren’t slipping away while he’s trying to get wickets.
“He’s going to need a very good deputy, and I think the right bloke is Steve Smith. It was interesting that Pat was very quick to in a way anoint him as his deputy at his press conference.
“He knows he’ll need him and he knows Steve Smith’s got the experience … and he will need someone to lean on in those really tough moments.
“Particularly when it comes to Nathan Lyon, I think that’s going to be the most telling time. Steve Smith has now captained Nathan Lyon and obviously grown up playing with Nathan Lyon, that experience will be invaluable.”