“There can only be 1 captain on the field”

(L to R): Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne. Pic: Getty Images

Former Australian captain Michael Clarke has warned Steve Smith over his tendency to get too hands-on with his guidance. According to Clarke, if not picked as Test captain, Smith needs to be careful with the kind of leadership role he will be playing as a senior.

Pat Cummins and Smith are two of the top contenders to take over as Australia’s Test captain, a vacancy which arose following Tim Paine’s resignation in the wake of the sexting scandal. The two were recently interviewed by a Cricket Australia (CA) panel.

Speaking on The Big Sports Breakfast, Clarke admitted that Cummins will definitely turn to Smith for advice if he is picked as leader of the Test team. He, however, advised Smith to be mindful since his actions will come under the scanner. Clarke said:

“He’s got to be careful Smithy, because he copped some criticism for doing that when Tim Paine took over the captaincy as well. That he was standing in slip waving his hands, moving the field. If he is vice-captain or even if he is not, he has got to be very careful. There can only be one captain on the field. That is what leadership is about as well, owning that. If it is Pat Cummins, he can take advice and guidance but then it’s up to him to be making the decisions.”

Clarke recalled an incident during the Test series against India earlier this year, when he was accused of scuffing up the crease. According to the 2015 World Cup-winning skipper, Smith’s moves get analyzed closely following his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal. Clarke elaborated:

“I don’t think Steve Smith understands how extreme it is going to be. He got a tiny glimpse of it last summer against India when he scruffed the pitch and was called the biggest cheat on the planet. I don’t think he understands how heavy it is going to be on him.”

Clarke further added:

“Since he’s come back, he’s helped this team win so many games of cricket. He has played a leadership role in the team and is doing a brilliant job. I think he can help the team more by supporting if it is Pat Cummins, scoring a truckload of runs and helping Australia win games.”

Paine had taken over Test captaincy from Smith in 2018 after the latter was banned for a year over his role in the ball-tampering saga.

“We’re going to add to the circus by Steve Smith being appointed” – Ian Healy

Former Australia wicketkeeper Ian Healy is not in favor of Smith returing as Test captain following Paine’s resignation over a sexting scandal.

Healy said that he had no issues with Smith but claimed that his return as leader would add to the circus following Paine’s exit. Healy told Sportsday with Satts and Jase:

“We’re going to add to the circus by Steve Smith being appointed after that (the Tim Paine episode). I’ve got no problems with Steve Smith captaining Australia again; he paid a heavy price for just being a lazy captain, that’s about all he was guilty of.”

Australia need to get their act in place ahead of the Ashes, which begins with the first Test in Brisbane on December 8.

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