Former England skipper Michael Vaughan has opined that Australia should not shy away from naming Steve Smith as captain of the ODI or the Test team if the situation arises.
The world number one Test batman led Australia in all the three formats until he was banned for 12 months over the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in 2018. Part of his punishment included a further year-long exile from any leadership role, which expired in March.
At present, Tim Paine captains the Test team while Aaron Finch is in charge of the limited-overs team. And while both Paine and Finch have done well so far, the talks around Steve Smith being made the captain again has been a constant in the cricket world.
The debate over the same resurfaced when Finch was ruled out of the second T20I against India last week, with speculation rampant that Steve Smith would stand in. But eventually, Matthew Wade was named as Australia’s stand-in captain despite Steve Smith being in the team,
And as cricket fraternity keeps debating over it, Michael Vaughan has said that while Steve Smith’s T20 form does not justify him being named as captain, Australia should definitely use him as a captain in ODIs and Tests whenever there is an opportunity.
“T20 is the format in which he’s in the side but it is not the form where he demands to be in the team all the time,” Vaughan said on Cricbuzz.
“But if there was ever an opportunity with Finch in the 50-over game or Tim Paine in Test cricket – and Paine will certainly lead Australia up to the next year’s Ashes. But if Paine or Finch picks an injury, I have no question in my mind that Steve Smith should be named as the captain,” Vaughan added.
He further said that he doesn’t understand the reason behind not giving Steve Smith the captaincy because of the ball-tampering scandal. Vaughan pointed out how Smith was ‘firing on all cylinders’ with the bat when he was leading Australia before the scandal.
“Keeping him out due to the Cape Town situation which happened many, many years ago – I don’t understand that. If they think that he is a better player by not being a captain and he is a better individual not to have the added responsibility, I would accept that. But you only need to see what he did with the bat when he was the captain and he was firing on all cylinders.
“He is not an individual whose captaincy affects his batting. It is just about figuring out who is the better leader in the group, who is the better tactician, who could help Australia with a tactical change in the middle. I think Steve Smith probably would.
“I think they are overthinking it – they are looking at what happened a few years ago – and thinking if everyone has moved on. Of course, everyone has moved on from ball tampering incident – we have all forgotten it. The game moves on really fast. If there is an opportunity arises in ODIs or Tests, then Steve Smith definitely be Australia captain,” Vaughan signed off.