'Absolute disaster': Ricky Ponting's dire warning about Steve Smith
Aussie legend Ricky Ponting has described the ‘disaster’ that could entail if Cricket Australia (CA) went ahead and handed Steve Smith the captaincy role without weighing up public sentiment.
Smith made his Test return in the 2019 Ashes series following the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, which also saw David Warner and Cameron Bancroft cop bans.
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However, the mercurial batsman was also handed a 24 month ban on entering another leadership role within the Australian team.
With current captain Tim Paine having turned 35 years old and coming to the end of his career, some are wondering whether Smith will once again be afforded the role of captain.
Ponting, who is coaching the Dehli Capitals in the 2020 IPL season, said clearly CA had plans for Smith for a potential future role or they would have handed him a permanent leadership ban.
“If Cricket Australia had thought he would have never done it again, they would have put a black line through his name right from the start, but they’ve left that option open,” Ponting told News.com.au.
While Ponting admitted public sentiment has changed around Smith’s role in the team after the initial furore that engulfed the sporting nation, CA still has to toe the line.
“The public sentiment certainly has changed, and that’ll be the interesting thing to see,” Ponting said.
“It’ll be if the Australian public are willing to allow him to come back and be captain again, because if Cricket Australia made that announcement that he’s going to be captain and it didn’t sit well with the public, then it’ll be an absolute disaster.”
Smith will miss heckling from English crowd
The Aussie ODI squad departed this week for the series against England and Smith surprisingly said he would miss the heckling from the parochial crowd.
Without a cricket game since March 13 when Australia's ODI series against New Zealand was abandoned, Smith said he was delighted to be playing again.
He just wished there'd be some spectators to give him a hard time.
"I do like batting there," he said of England.
"But unfortunately there's no crowd there to egg me on and give me a bit more motivation.
"Still, there is going to be plenty of eyes on the TV and it is going to be great to be back out there playing."
English crowds initially taunted Smith as he made his Test return in the 2019 Ashes series following the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa. It even prompted the British sports minister to label some reactions as distasteful.
As the series wore on however it veered more towards admiration as Smith went on to compile a phenomenal 774 runs at 110.57.
Smith said he wasn't too bothered by Australia effectively being two months behind England in terms of match practice. The home side has already hosted West Indies and is now playing Pakistan.
"We have to start at some point and this is our starting point," Smith said, admitting he'd only picked up a bat in recent weeks after largely concentrating on fitness since mid-March.