Steve Smith ready to lead: Boof, Bayliss

The two coaches that shaped Steve Smith’s leadership have no doubt he is ready for the second most important job in Australia.


Australia coach Darren Lehmann and England counterpart Trevor Bayliss have both declared it will be a smooth transition following Michael Clarke’s retirement.

Clarke will captain Australia in the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval, but the team will be Smith’s after that dead rubber.

Smith has already become the nation’s 45th Test captain, having stepped up when Michael Clarke underwent hamstring surgery last summer.

The gifted right-hander scored centuries in all three of those Tests against India, with Lehmann expecting the full-time gig to sit just as well with the 26-year-old.

“It improved Michael’s batting and hopefully it’s the same for Steven, he’s a good player,” Lehmann said.

“It’ll be a smooth transition.”

Lehmann is very much about player empowerment and he noted it will be Smith making all the tough calls during matches.

“It’s really a case of how he wants to play,” he said.

“He’ll be aggressive as all Australian captains have been.

“But I think he’ll work out what works for him on and off the field the best.”

Bayliss handed Smith his first leadership post of note, when the fresh-faced star took control of Twenty20 franchise Sydney Sixers.

Bayliss was also influential in Smith’s promotion to first drop, having urged him to make the move at NSW.

Bayliss tipped his former charge would have no issues handling the extra responsibility.

“He’s shown it already in Test cricket earlier this year,” Bayliss said.

“He’s a very proactive type of captain. I think he’ll do a fantastic job, and certainly has the respect of the rest of his teammates.

“They know he is one hell of a player, and a very good captain.”

The Cricket Australia board is yet to officially confirm Smith as Clarke’s successor, but that is a formality given there are no other candidates.

Clarke, who announced his retirement as England reclaimed the Ashes in the fourth Test at Trent Bridge, backed Smith to step up.

“He’s going to make a good captain,” Clarke said.

It’s understood Smith will front up on August 27, when Australia face Ireland in an ODI at Belfast.

The majority of the Test squad will be rested from the one-day series, let alone the one-off clash with Ireland.

But there will be no such respite for the new face of Australian cricket, renowned for his unorthodox technique and fidgeting at the crease.

Smith’s first Test assignment will be a two-match tour of Bangladesh in October, which precedes a three-Test home series against New Zealand.


* Made Test debut in 2010 as legspinning allrounder. Returned in 2013 as middle-order batsman

* Maiden Test century came in 2013 Ashes. Only cemented his place in the XI during the 2013-14 Ashes

* Australia’s leading run-scorer in successful 2015 World Cup campaign. Also hit the winning runs in the MCG final

* Rocketed to top spot in ICC’s Test batting rankings in 2015 after a run of six tons in eight Tests. Scored maiden double-century in second Ashes Test at Lord’s

* Has captained the Test side to two draws and one win

* Has captained the ODI side to one win.

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