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Ashes 2019 | Wouldn’t Have Any Problem in Smith Becoming Captain Again: Ponting

Cricketnext Staff |August 4, 2019, 12:55 PM IST
Ashes 2019 | Wouldn’t Have Any Problem in Smith Becoming Captain Again: Ponting

Former Australian skipper and current assistant coach Ricky Ponting feels any suggestion Steve Smith should not play a role in Australia’s planning during the Ashes is ‘an absolute load of rubbish’. Ponting added that Smith’s hands-on approach at Edgbaston would have the full support of current captain Tim Paine.

The Australian legend added that he would have no problem with Smith captaining Australia again once his leadership ban expires next year.

Smith is banned from holding an official leadership position in Australian cricket until March 2020, as part of his sanction following the ball-tampering scandal, and his heavy on-field involvement on Saturday sparked debate on social media.

"I read a bit of that stuff this morning, with people online going on about the fact he shouldn’t be doing it because he’s not captain," Ponting was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

"That’s an absolute load of rubbish. He’s not captain. He’s not tossing the coin and he’s not picking the team. But an experienced guy like him with a cricket brain that he’s got, Tim would be silly to not try and tap into that and not try to use him when he can,” he added.

"He’s served his time as far as his playing suspension goes and everyone knows he can’t captain again until next year. He’s part of a team that is relying on him heavily for his experience, so he can help in whichever way and wherever he possibly can. And I’m sure if Painey or anyone around the team wasn’t happy with it, then it wouldn’t be happening,” the former Australian skipper said.

Smith will be just 30 when his leadership ban expires next year and despite the pressures of the top job, Ponting says he would have no issue with the former skipper resuming the role at some stage.

"I haven’t really thought about, but personally I wouldn’t have any problem with it at all," he said.

"If the hierarchy at Cricket Australia have an issue with him ever being captain again, they would have given him a life ban, wouldn’t they? By banning him for just an extra 12 months, they think it’s OK for him to come back. So if the authorities think it’s OK, I’m happy with it as well,” Australia’s assistant coach added.

Speaking after his match-turning century on day one, Smith said it is his responsibility to stand up as a senior player.

"I obviously don’t have the armband, and that’s OK,” he said. “I’m obviously an experienced player now … and you want your experienced players to stand up when it is difficult and to show the way."

Ponting also backed Paine to help Australia build a match-winning lead on Day Four of the first Ashes Test on Sunday (August 4).

Paine has posted just one half-century from 14 innings since taking over as skipper last year and the hot recent form of uncapped gloveman Alex Carey led the likes of former skipper Mark Taylor this week to acknowledge the pressure on the current Test skipper to fire in this series.

"He’s the best wicketkeeper in the world … and his first job in the team is to keep wicket and do a good job as captain," Ponting said in defence of Paine.

"When you watch him bat, it’s always been the case with Painey; he looks a million dollars and probably doesn’t score as many runs as people would like him to. But he’s a tough and determined character and when things get at their toughest is when he plays his best.

"With this Test match pretty much on the line … he might be a significant part of these couple of hours (early on day four). I’m backing him every day of the week. He loves the challenge and for his team’s sake hopefully he can get the job done,” he added.

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