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Steve Smith’s Australia cricket captaincy being challenged: Michael Clarke

On a wet Tuesday in Kolkata, the former Australia skipper said Smith should have gone for frontline bowlers when India were reeling at 87/5 in Chennai in the first ODI.

india vs australia 2017 Updated: Sep 19, 2017 17:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
India vs Australia,India national cricket team,Australia national cricket team
Steve Smith’s Australia cricket team have failed to register a win in their last 11 ODIs away from home and the pressure is on them to make a comeback against a rampant Indian cricket team. (PTI)

Trust an Australian to say it like he feels it.

Michael Clarke pulled no punches as he spoke about his successor as Australia cricket captain one day after the visitors checked into Kolkata for the second One-day International on Thursday.

“As a batsman Steve Smith is right up there; I think he and Virat Kohli are the two best batsmen in the world right now. I think he and David Warner will be the highest scorers for Australia in this series. But I also think his captaincy is now being challenged,” said Clarke on a grey, wet Tuesday morning at the Fanattic Sports Museum here where he was also part of a television programme on the five-match series with former India stumper Deep Dasgupta and woman’s cricket team spearhead Jhulan Goswami.

Great numbers

Smith averages 59.66 in 56 Tests with 20 centuries and has a double-century in his 5,370 runs. In ODIs, Smith has made 3,188 runs with eight centuries and 17 half-centuries at an average of 43.67 and a strike rate of 87.39.

Talking about cricket as the sun went AWOL may seem akin to skiing in the Sahara but Michael Clarke for one would be hoping the rain goes away. “Because it is very important for Australia to win this one-dayer at Eden.”

That will also be Steve Smith’s 100th ODI.

Aussie aggro missing

Michael Clarke felt Steve Smith, 28, didn’t go for the jugular when India were 87/5 in Chennai.

“You needed to get your frontline bowlers back then. You needed to get MS (Dhoni) and Hardik (Pandya) out. Against a competent side like India those are moments you need to seize. And it is not as if Australia don’t know that. Smith knows Australia are at their best when they are aggressive and so, I think it will be very important for them to win the one-dayer at Eden,” he said.

Steve Smith’s team came to India after a two-Test series in Bangladesh ended 1-1, the home team notching up their first-ever Test victory against Australia in Dhaka, by 20 runs. Australia levelled the series by winning the second Test in Chittagong by seven wickets. Steve Smith had scores of eight and 37 in the first Test and 58 and 16 in the second.

In Chennai, Smith was dismissed for one in five balls by all-rounder Hardik Pandya.

First Published: Sep 19, 2017 16:59 IST