Australia coach Justin Langer slammed Ian Chappell’s comments accusing Steve Smith of “white-anting” captain Tim Paine.
Chappell said that Smith undermined current skipper Paine by trying to set the field in the second Test against Pakistan, which they won by an innings and 48 runs in Adelaide on Monday. But Langer said the comment was “strange” because all Australian players are encouraged to think like leaders.
Former captain Smith is still serving a leadership ban for his role in the ball-tampering scandal in 2018. He was banned from cricket for a year and from assuming captaincy for two.
But the coach believes that Paine would be crazy not to draw on Smith’s experience as a leader, even suggesting that he would consult Warner who has a lifetime leadership ban.
“It would be absolutely ridiculous of Tim Paine not to be looking like all captains do, and having a talk to Steve Smith, who has been a former captain of Australia, and David Warner and Travis Head, who is a captain of South Australia and a vice-captain, and a group of senior bowlers.” Langer was quoted as saying ahead of the New Zealand series.
“He’d be crazy. We want to encourage all our guys to think like captains and leaders on and off the field.
“So it’d be ridiculous for Painey not to be asking for it and then channelling the information as is required to whoever needs it. I was actually pleased to see our guys having a leadership impact on the ground,” Langer added.
Smith, who stands at slip, is often seen discussing field placement with wicketkeeper Paine.
“I tell you what I don’t like to see, Steve Smith is moving a few fielders around,” Chappell had told Macquarie Sports Radio. “He did have a chat with Tim Paine, trying to talk Tim Paine into moving a fielder on the off-side, but I’m not sure Tim Paine moved him as far as Steve Smith wanted. Steve Smith started moving him, I hate to see that,” he added.
On his part, Smith had said that he was only trying to help Paine and not undermine him.
Australia’s next assignment is a three-Test series against New Zealand starting Thursday.