Smith being groomed for leadership role
AUSTRALIA’s s e l e c t o r s have been urged to keep faith in underfire Steve Smith, with the rookie allrounder being hailed as a future captain in the mould of Test great Steve Waugh.
The 21-year-old Smith is under increasing pressure to perform at the World Cup after having claimed just one wicket in Australia’s opening four matches at the bloated average of 121.
Skipper Ricky Ponting underlined the importance of Smith and Jason Krejza to Australia’s World Cup plans when he urged the spin duo to deliver key strikes in the middle overs after the pair went wicketless in a 60-run defeat of Kenya on Sunday.
Smith has had limited opportunities with the bat at the Cup, scoring 17 not out and 11, but he exhibited his talent with a superb catch and direct-hit run out i n Aus t r a l i a ’ s was h o u t against Sri Lanka last Saturday week.
Cricket NSW boss Dave Gilbert, the former Test bowler, played alongside Waugh at the Blues in the 1980s and he sees similar leadership traits in Smith.
" I think he’s definitely got " I played with Steve Waugh in his debut first-class game . . . ( and he) had this belief in his ability and Steve Smith is the same.’’