Wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade was tasked with leading the side in Aaron Finch’s absence in the second T20I on Sunday. Former captain Steve Smith played only as a batsman in the game which rekindled the question of his return to captaincy.
Justin Langer, Australia’s head coach, explained why Wade was above Steve Smith in the pecking order. He also said the Australian team would go through a “process” before Smith is made captain again. Speaking to Fox Sports, Langer said:
“Matty Wade was the vice-captain, Steve Smith has done a brilliant job in the past, there is a process probably to go through till he becomes captain again. We’ll go through that. He is doing all the right things to show leadership without a title at the moment.”
Steve Smith hasn’t captained Australia since the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town in 2018. He was banned from all international and domestic cricket for a year, while also not being allowed to captain the side for 2 years.
Although the 2-year prohibition ended in March this year, the scars of the saga remain in the minds of the Australian public, hindering his return to the helm. However, his record as a leader makes him a tempting choice regardless.
In the 34 Tests that Steve Smith captained Australia, they won 18 games and drew 6. The win percentage of almost 53 ranks him among the best in Australian Test history. He has also scored 3,659 runs at an average of 70.36 as captain. His overall Test average, while still being impressive, falls to 62.84.
The 31-year-old’s batting average also increases by 2 in ODIs and 8 in T20Is when he is the captain.
Australia’s skippers at the moment, Aaron Finch and Tim Paine, haven’t made too many mistakes during their reigns in white-ball and red-ball cricket respectively. However, at 34 and 35 years of age, the clock is ticking on their careers.
With the absence of any other established leader in the wings, we might be in for some changes in the Australian squads in the coming years, and Steve Smith’s promotion could be one of them.