The Courier-Mail

Past sins forgotten in Warner’s rise to deputy

- BEN HORNE

AFTER being sent packing from the last Ashes tour for punching Joe Root, David Warner is in line to leave this campaign as Australia’s vicecaptai­n-in-waiting.

It means Warner (pictured) could be just one Steve Smith hamstring twinge away from captaining his country in a Test match.

Warner is the obvious candidate to be Smith’s deputy, should selectors put the broom through the side’s ageing stars as expected.

Selectors named Warner vice-captain for Australia’s Ashes tour match against Derbyshire when Smith was rested in a clear pointer to him being in their sights for the future.

However, Warner has failed to get an immediate endorsemen­t from Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland, who has firmly admonished the explosive opener for disciplina­ry issues in the past.

Sutherland was happy to anoint Smith as the heir to Michael Clarke’s throne as captain, but was noncommitt­al when asked about Warner’s claims to be next in line for an official leadership role.

“I don’t think that’s necessaril­y as obvious a next step in time,” he said.

“The selectors will need to think about where they’re at first and then the board makes a decision based on their recommenda­tion.”

Sutherland was highly critical of Warner for the Root incident at a Birmingham nightclub in 2013 and for an on-field incident last summer where the 28-year-old implored Indian star Rohit Sharma in an on-field sledge to “speak English”.

Australian coach Darren Lehmann said Smith still had to find himself after just three games in charge last summer.

However, he has no doubt the 26-year-old is ready.

“I think it’ll be a smooth transition,” he said.

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