Should Steve Smith depose Tim Paine as Test captain when his ban expires?
Should Steve Smith depose Tim Paine as Test captain when his ban expires?

Aussie great warns against making Smith captain again

Greg Chappell's concession that Steve Smith might be best left unburdened by the stresses of Test captaincy is a significant moment in a debate which will rage throughout the summer.

Run-machine Smith is free to return to the national captaincy in March following a two-year leadership ban which followed the ball tampering affair in Cape Town.

There are mixed feelings over whether he should simply be left to try and extend the form surge that netted him a dam-busting 774 runs Test runs at 110 in the Ashes or be saddled up for another stint as leader.

 

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"I don't know whether he wants to,'' Chappell told Brisbane's RadioTAB when asked if Smith should captain Australia in a Test series again.

 

Steve Smith will be free to take over the captaincy from Tim Paine next year if required.
Steve Smith will be free to take over the captaincy from Tim Paine next year if required.

 

"Should he? I don't know. He is so important as a run-scorer and the responsibility of captaincy take their toll on the mental capabilities as well.''

"I would almost rather have him place 100% of his mental capacity on making runs.''

"He is always going to be there on the field for a captain to lean on and he is the sort of individual who will be reading the game the whole time.

"Even if you don't talk to him. You only have to watch him for five minutes and you know what he is thinking about.

"He is shifting the field in his mind. The captain will only have to look out of the corner of his eye to know what Steve is thinking. It will be an interesting challenge for the next panel.''

Chappell's stance is significant, not simply because of his gravitas as an Australian Test great who only retired from the Test selectors' panel this month.

He has been a strong Smith supporter for the past decade in ways which even Smith may not fully appreciate.

It was always rumoured Chappell was a key advocate behind Smith's first Test appearance against Pakistan in 2010 at Lord's and Chappell would have happily had him batting in the top six rather at No 8 where he also bowled leg-spin.

 

Smith’s views will be available on field to whoever captains Australia for many years to come.
Smith’s views will be available on field to whoever captains Australia for many years to come.

 

When Smith visited the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane Chappell tagged him as a truly exceptional prospect and urged him to broaden his leg-side game by working on more shots on the off-side.

Chappell has spent much of the past decade thrusting Smith's name forward so when he ponders whether it is the right move to bring him back as captain his opinion has special merit.

"Steve's ability to focus and playing long innings is remarkable. I don't think I have seen anything like it," Chappell said.

"Steve is a unique player - he has his own methods but don't get distracted by the idiosyncrasies. The basics if what he does is very similar to what all the great players have done over the years at the point of release.''


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