Smith is named vice captain three and a half years after being banned for his role in the Cape Town ball rigging scandal
On another dramatic day in Australian cricket, Smith was named deputy to new test captain Pat Cummins just hours after Tim Paine ruled himself out by taking an “indefinite break” from cricket.
Steve Smith was named vice-captain of Australia ahead of the upcoming Ashes series against England, just three and a half years after he was banned for his role in the Cape Town ball rigging scandal.
Paine was stripped of captaincy last week after a series of explicit private messages were released between him and a former colleague at Cricket Tasmania.
Although the wicketkeeper initially remained in the Australian Ashes squad, the 36-year-old will not play a role in the five-game series against England after retiring from cricket.
Paines manager James Henderson tweeted the player was on “indefinite mental health hiatus” before adding, “We are very concerned about his and her” [wife] Bonnie’s welfare and will not make any further comments at this time. “
Australia has now turned to Cummins to guide them during an Ashes series that opens in Brisbane on December 8th.
Cummins becomes the first fast bowler to lead Australia since 1956 when Ray Lindwall led the team in a one-off test.
However, the appointment of Smith as his deputy will raise eyebrows at the former captain’s role in the Sandpaper-Gate affair. Smith was banned for one year after this scandal in South Africa in March 2018. He was also given a two-year “leadership ban” that expired last year.
Now, however, it is likely that he could captain Australia again this winter against England if Cummins – a bowler whose injury history suggests he may not pass five ash tests in seven weeks – is ruled out at any point.
Because of this, Cummins admitted having Smith as his deputy.
“I think there are still a few strangers to having a bowling captain, so I was determined from the start to have someone like Steve next to me as the vice-captain,” he said.
“I feel like I have a lot of experience that I can fall back on. I’m sure we can solve many of the problems or potential issues that come with being a fast bowling captain.
“I’ve made it pretty clear that this is how I see the team if I got the captaincy, and I’ve tried to get Steve with me for that too. He’s as important as I see my captaincy style. “
Upon his appointment as assistant captain, Smith admitted, “I think there are going to be negative things about some people. I understand that and I understand that. But for me, I know that I’ve grown a lot over the past three or four years. I’m a rounder person and I think it made me a better leader. “
And Cummins has admitted that there will be times during the Ashes when Smith will actually be the team captain, even with the fast bowler on the field. “There will be times when it will be a hot day, I’m in the middle of a wizardry and need to reach out to people for advice, tactics, experience and that’s the main reason I wanted Steve to be vice captain ,” he said.
“How does it look? I think it could possibly look different from how you’ve seen partnerships work in the past. I think this will stay pretty fluid.
“There will be times on the field when I throw at Steve and you will see Steve move outfield players around, maybe make bowling changes, take on a bit more of a higher role as vice-captain and that’s what I really do want.
“I asked that and I’m really glad Steve is happy with it too. We’re going to find out exactly how that works, but it’s going to be a real collaborative approach. Steve has so much strength, especially tactically on the field. “