Australia’s stand-in T20 skipper Matthew Wade on Monday said batting mainstay Steve Smith, who has “plenty of say” in how the team is driven on the field, would do a “great job” if he is given the leadership role again.
Wade took over the captaincy reins for the second T20 against India at Sydney on Sunday after Aaron Finch picked up an injury in the opening game in Canberra.
Asked about Smith, who lost the captaincy role because of his role in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal, Wade said the team has a lot of options and they include the batting star.
“We have so many good leaders, I have been given the captaincy but we have got Smith, we have got Moises (Henriques), who captains his BBL team. We have guys with a lot of experience, there is a lot of discussions among the seniors but we are all working together,” Wade said.
“It is not me driving the field, obviously Finchy (Aaron Finch) is our captain and we all work together when he plays well. So Smith has plenty of say, he has been a great captain for a long time and he will do a great job if he gets an opportunity,” he added.
Coach Justin Langer said Australia’s T20 against India on Sunday was too early for Steve Smith to regain the captaincy.
“Of course, we talked about a number of things,” Langer told Fox Sports, when asked if Smith was considered. “We’ve got so many options. Steve has done a brilliant job in the past. There’s probably a bit of a process we need to go through until he becomes captain again. We’ll go through that.”
Langer added: “When the English crowd gave him a standing ovation at The Oval last year - talk about earning respect ... he’s doing all the right things to show leadership without a title at the moment.”
Restart for Wade
Speaking about himself, the late bloomer said he has become a completely different player since forcing his way back into the team in 2019, two years after being axed.
The 32-year-old was dropped from Australia’’s Test and T20 sides on the eve of the 2017-18 Ashes but he regained his place for the Ashes last year after piling up runs in the 2018-19 season for Tasmania and Hobart Hurricanes.
“Yes, I’m 32, and I’ve been around a long time, but I see myself as a completely different player. Matthew Wade, the guy that played as wicketkeeper-batter, is a completely different player than the one that’s been playing the last three years,” Wade said.
“I almost feel like I restarted my career a couple of years ago, debuting at 30,” added the player, who smashed a thrilling fifty in the second T20I.
After making a comeback to the side, Wade scored two centuries in five Tests of the Ashes series.
Wade said he feels “no different to guys like Hadds (Brad Haddin) and Mike Hussey” who also made a comeback in their 30s.
“Age is always spoken about when you get to my age and that’’s the nature of the beast. Every game I play for Australia is one that I didn’’t think I’d get and whether that’’s my last game or whether I’ll play another 50, that doesn’’t faze me,” he added.
On being handed the captaincy, Wade said, “...this game moves fast and sometimes things happen that are quite unexpected and that’’s exactly what’’s happened in this scenario.”
“There’’s plenty of guys that could have done it on the ground at the time which made it a lot easier for me.”
Australia lost the first two T20Is to concede the three-match series. India’s Hardik Pandya smashed two sixes in the last over to hand the hosts a six-wicket loss in their last outing.