Australia coach Justin Langer has hit back at "crazy" allegations his star batsman Steve Smith is undermining captain Tim Paine.
Test great and former Aussie captain Ian Chappell sparked controversy when he claimed Smith was ‘white-anting’ Paine in the second Test against Pakistan.
Chappell said on Macquarie Sports Radio that he took exception to Smith changing the fielding positions that the skipper had set in Adelaide.
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“I tell you what I don’t like to see, Steve Smith is moving a few fieldsmen around,” Chappell said.
“He did have a chat with Tim Paine, trying to talk Tim Paine into moving a fielder on the off-side, but I’m not sure Tim Paine moved him as far as Steve Smith wanted.”
Smith denied suggestions he was in any way trying to undermine his captain, insisting he was only trying to help by lending his vast experience.
Now the coach has weighed in on the saga, insisting it would be "absolutely ridiculous" for Smith not to provide his invaluable input to the captain.
"I thought that was a really strange comment the other day," Langer said about Chappell's 'white-anting' claim.
"It would be absolutely ridiculous of Tim Paine not to be looking like all captains do, and having a talk to Steve Smith, who has been a former captain of Australia."
“He’d be crazy. We want to encourage all our guys to think like captains and leaders on and off the field. So it’d be ridiculous for Painey not to be asking for it and then channelling the information as is required to whoever needs it.
"I was actually pleased to see our guys having a leadership impact on the ground."
Players to pay tribute to deadly volcano victims
More pressing to Langer before the first Test against the Kiwis gets underway on Friday is the volcano crisis that has rocked New Zealand.
Australian and Kiwi players will band together before the first Test to pay tribute to the lives lost in the volcanic eruption in New Zealand this week.
At least six people have been confirmed dead after the eruption on White Island.
It's feared at least three Australians are among the dead, with that number expected to rise.
The first Test between Australia and New Zealand gets underway in Perth on Thursday, and the two nations will band together to organise a tribute before play starts.
The finer details of that tribute are still being worked out.
Australia coach Justin Langer says players will no doubt be affected by the tragedy.
"It puts a Test into huge perspective," Langer said.
"All of a sudden lives are being torn apart. It's very sad. Our hearts go out to everyone there.
"It will have an impact. I'm sure it will affect all New Zealanders."
Black Caps coach Gary Stead said the tragedy was devastating.
"From our team's point of view, it sort of puts things into perspective, that it is a game and all we're playing is a game," Stead said.
"And when you hear about lives lost and something tragic like that, it's devastating to hear. It's terrible to hear, and you don't wish that upon anyone."