‘There can be one captain on field’: Clarke advices Smith to remain ‘careful’ as captaincy debate intensifies
With the Ashes approaching and Cricket Australia yet to appoint a captain for the much-awaited Test series, former skipper Michael Clarke had a word of advice for veteran cricketer Steve Smith.
Although Pat Cummins is leading the race to be named as Australia's new Test skipper, Smith, too, is one of the forerunner considering his previous experience in the position, before he stepped down following his role in the infamous ball-tampering scandal.
Clarke adviced the veteran Aussie cricketer to remain “careful” as there can only be "one captain on the pitch", taking note of Smith's tendency to pass instructions despite not being the skipper.
“He’s got to be careful Smithy, because he copped some criticism for doing that when Tim Paine took over the captaincy as well. That he was standing in slip waving his hands, moving the field. If he is vice-captain or even if he is not, he has got to be very careful,” Clarke said on The Big Sports Breakfast.
“There can only be one captain on the field. That is what leadership is about as well, owning that. If it is Pat Cummins, he can take advice and guidance but then it’s up to him to be making the decisions,” he added.
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Clarke also recalled an incident from the 2020-21 Border Gavaskar Trophy, when Smith received backlash for allegedly ‘scruffing’ and was called a ‘cheat’ by several Indian fans.
The incident took place when Smith was seen shadow batting during India's innings in the third Test in Sydney, which ended in a draw.
“I don’t think Steve Smith understands how extreme it is going to be. He got a tiny glimpse of it last summer against India when he scruffed the pitch and was called the biggest cheat on the planet. I don’t think he understands how heavy it is going to be on him.”
“Since he’s come back, he’s helped this team win so many games of cricket. He has played a leadership role in the team and is doing a brilliant job. I think he can help the team more by supporting if it is Pat Cummins, scoring a truckload of runs and helping Australia win games,” he added.
Tim Paine stepped down from the captaincy position just weeks ahead of the Ashes after media revelations he had been investigated and cleared over sexually explicit text messages sent to a female former colleague at Cricket Tasmania in 2017.