Steve Smith has given up on reclaiming the Australia captaincy on a full-time basis more than four years after the Newlands ball-tampering fiasco, but he will gladly fill in this week as the hosts attempt to thrash West Indies at Adelaide Oval.
As Pat Cummins rests with a quadriceps strain on Thursday, Smith will lead the team for the second straight Adelaide Test in place of Cummins.
When Cummins was unable to play in the Ashes Test against England due to COVID-19 guidelines last year, Smith stepped in. Smith guided Australia to a 275-run victory and a 2-0 series lead with 93 runs scored in the first innings and six catches total.
The following year, Smith will try to extend Australia’s spotless record with the pink ball to 10 day-night Test victories by leading Australia to a 2-0 series victory over the Caribbeans.
At Adelaide Oval on Wednesday, Smith told reporters, “I have to do it my own way.”
“Last year, I took control of the game here, and I believed everything went fairly smoothly. So, same as before.”
Smith, who succeeded Michael Clarke as Test captain in 2015, was relieved of the position due to “Sandpaper-gate” in 2018 and given a three-year leadership position ban.
When Tim Paine resigned this year due to a “sexting” incident, Smith was passed over for the captaincy in favour of Cummins after the ban expired in March 2021.
Since then, Smith has once more been passed over for the one-day captaincy, which was given to Cummins in October as a result of Aaron Finch’s departure from the game.
After Australia’s failure to go past the quarterfinals of their domestic World Cup, T20 captain Finch’s future is still in doubt, but Smith has learned not to hold out hope.
“Yes, pretty much. I’m fairly laid back, so whenever they ask me to fill in and play a game here or there, I’m pleased to “said he.
“But Patty is the real deal. In every manner I can, I’ll assist him and be there for him.”
Unlike last year, when Kane Richardson filled Cummins’ bowling shoes, Scott Boland of Victoria will fill those shoes this time around. During the home Ashes, Boland was snatched from obscurity to become a cult legend.
Boland, the second Native Australian to represent Australia in a Test match, recorded 18 wickets in three Ashes games but hasn’t been seen since Hobart in January.
Smith remarked, “It’s a nice replacement.”
“He probably has a 10 test cricket average. He’ll undoubtedly perform equally well for us.”West Indies were not ashamed by the size of their loss in Perth since they fought back till far into day five thanks to captain Kraigg Brathwaite’s resolute century.
As Smith and run-machine Marnus Labuschagne went big with the bat in the Perth encounter, they will need to find a method to take more wickets after only getting six for the entire game.
West Indies faces a challenge since forced adjustments can occur.
Both Kemar Roach and fellow quick Jayden Seales are dealing with injuries, and all-arounder Kyle Mayers is unlikely to bowl due to a shoulder issue.
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