‘I would have made Steve Smith the captain, he’s one of the best in the team’: Mark Waugh ahead of first Test against India
Former batsman Mark Waugh believes Steve Smith has repented enough for his role in the ball-tampering scandal and needs to be handed Australia’s Test captaincy after the retirement of incumbent Tim Paine.
Smith was removed from captaincy due to his involvement in the scandal in 2018 which also led to a review of Australia’s win-at-all-cost team culture.
However, ahead of the four-Test series against India, there has been discussions and debates on whether it was time to reinstate Smith as captain after Matthew Wade was made the stand-in skipper in the second T20I in the absence of an injured Aaron Finch.
“I would have made Steve Smith captain. He is one of the best players in the team, so he is always going to be picked in the team,” Waugh said on Fox Sports’ Heavy Roller Podcast.
“Plus he has captained Australia for a number of years. He’s got a great cricket brain and I think he is a leader, so why not?” Smith had captained Australia in 34 Tests, 51 ODIs and 8 T20Is between 2015 and 2018 before being banned for a year for the sandpaper scandal that happened in Cape Town two years ago.
“I know a lot of people say why should he captain again? But hang on the crime has been paid for as minor as I thought it was,” Waugh said.
“He’s paid his penance there, so he gets back to captain. I think he is a pretty good captain.” However, spin legend Shane Warne believes Smith’s time as captain is up and he should just focus on amassing runs for the country.
“I wouldn’t (make him captain), I think Steve Smith has had his time. I would go with someone else as captain. Steve Smith we want to bat and bat,” Warne said.
“I think we just let him bat and play. His time has been. It has got nothing to do with the issues in South Africa for me. I just think it is time for someone else.”
Recently, former Australia wicketkeeper batsman Adam Gilchrist had backed Smith, saying there is no reason why he should not be allowed to be the captain again.