Taylor expects Smith to lead Australia again
Former Australia skipper sees no reason why in-form batsman won't lead his country in the future
AFP & Cricket Network
12 September 2019, 03:43 PM AEST
Former skipper Mark Taylor has backed Steve Smith to captain Australia again after his incredible Ashes exploits, as support mounts for the 30-year-old to be given a second chance.
Smith was banned for 12 months over a brazen attempt to alter the ball with sandpaper under his captaincy in a Cape Town Test, and slapped with a further year's suspension from any leadership role which runs out at the end of March next year.
While wicketkeeper Tim Paine assumed the job in Tests and won praise for the way he helped the side retain the Ashes at Old Trafford last weekend, he will be 35 in December.
Taylor, who helped determine Smith's ball-tampering penalty, along with the bans handed to David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, said he was the natural choice to take over.
"I believe Smith will captain Australia again," he said in a column for the Sydney Morning Herald.
"I was on the Cricket Australia board that determined the penalties for Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft over the events of Cape Town and have no doubt he will be a better leader next time around because of the very harsh lessons he learnt."
Paine was widely criticised for his decision-making in the third Test at Headingley that Australia lost, but he bounced back admirably at Old Trafford and Taylor said he should retain the armband for the upcoming home summer series against Pakistan and New Zealand.
But Smith would be waiting in the wings.
"To me it's not a matter of whether he (Smith) becomes captain again on April 1. It doesn't have to happen that quickly," he said.
"But I'd like to think when Paine is finished as Test captain - whether that's in six months' time or two or three years - he would be a candidate to lead the side again."
England captain Joe Root is more concerned with the more pressing issue of how to dismiss Smith during the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval.
Smith has compiled a mountain of 671 runs at 134.2 this series, and needs 99 runs in the final Test to make it the most prolific series of his life.
Root is desperate to stop that happening in the clash that begins on Thursday.
"We'll keep looking at different ways to get him out and trying different things," Root said.
"He's played extremely well, not given many chances and we feel like in his first 20 balls we've beaten the bat a lot and it could have been very different.
"But he's managed to ride that out well and when he's got in, he's made it really count.
"Little things like that no-ball (that cost Jack Leach the wicket of Smith in Manchester) could have made a big difference but you can't look at ifs and buts, you got to look forward at this next Test.
"Make sure when we do create that chance we take it."
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia won by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: Match drawn at Lord's
Third Test: England won by one wicket at Headingley
Fourth Test: Australia won by 185 runs at Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval