Qantas Tour of NZ 2018
T20 captaincy is Smith's call: Warner
Stand-in skipper embracing leadership, but respects Smith's decision to remain captain full-time
15 February 2018, 06:22 PM AEST
Stand-in captain David Warner says his future leadership prospects in T20 cricket will be determined by full-time skipper Steve Smith, who maintains he wants to captain the national team in all three forms of the game.
Warner says he's embraced leading the T20 side in Smith's absence from the current tri-series and it would appear his players have embraced him as skipper as well.
Having traditionally under-performed in 20-over cricket, the Australians have won six of seven games overall when Warner has been captain, including their past three in a row for the first time since 2014. They will rise to No.2 in the world rankings if they can beat New Zealand on Friday night.
The over-crowded international schedule and a need to rest between tours has meant Smith hasn't played a T20 for his country in almost two years and the likes of former captain and current assistant coach Ricky Ponting has suggested previously that captaining the national team in all three formats could be unsustainable in the long term.
But Smith is determined to lead the 20-over side going forward and Warner says he respects the status quo.
"That's obviously a question for Smithy and the selectors," Warner told cricket.com.au. "It depends on how Smithy is going mentally with all three forms.
"He's said that he's happy doing all three forms and I respect that. I'm his deputy so I try and help him as much as I can so he's in the (right) frame of mind.
"But it's quite a tough job. It's not just the cricket he has to deal with, it's everything else that comes with the game. I don't think people see that as often and it can be quite challenging.
"I try and do as much as I can and make sure I'm doing everything right with the boys to make his job a lot easier."
In Warner, an IPL-winning skipper, the Australians have had a ready-made captaincy replacement whenever Smith has sat out of the T20 side in recent years.
But full-time skipper has a strong captaincy record in the shortest format as well; as a 22-year-old, he led Sydney Sixers to the inaugural BBL title in 2012 and he captained Rising Pune Supergiant to the IPL final last year.
And the world's best Test batsman says he's got a future in the shortest form of the game internationally, even though his career strike-rate in all 20-over cricket (125.36) is well behind those of the six frontline batters in the current T20 set-up - Glenn Maxwell (157.68), Chris Lynn (148.42), D'Arcy Short (148.14), Warner (143.22), Aaron Finch (139.02) and Travis Head (136.94).
"I certainly see that I've got a future in T20 cricket," Smith said this week. "I've done reasonably well in the IPL in the last couple of years and hopefully I can do the same again and keep performing and putting my name up for T20 selection.
"I'm comfortable at the moment (captaining in three formats). Obviously, it’s been a while since I played a T20 international ... but I think I'll get the opportunity to certainly be available for selection in T20 cricket in the next year or so and hopefully be able to get some games in.
"In an ideal world I'd love to play every game. I don't really like resting, but to be fair on this occasion I think it's been the best thing for me.
"It's nice to know that if I do have a rest, Davey can step up and do a terrific job."
Beyond the current tri-series, Australia's next T20 match will be against England at Edgbaston on June 27 following a five-match ODI series.
A T20 tri-series in Zimbabwe had been rumoured to follow immediately after the UK tour, but reports this week said the series is in jeopardy due to financial troubles.
Trans-Tasman T20 Tri-Series
First T20I Australia beat New Zealand by seven wickets. Scorecard
Second T20I Australia beat England by five wickets. Scorecard
Third T20I Australia beat England by seven wickets. Scorecard
Fourth T20I New Zealand beat England by 12 runs. Scorecard
Fifth T20I NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final TBC, Eden Park, February 21
Australia squad: David Warner (c), Aaron Finch (vc), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Ben Dwarshuis, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.
England squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood.
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Anaru Kitchen, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Ben Wheeler.