Smith be­ing groomed for lead­er­ship role

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport -

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.’’

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