Nov 28, 2021: Former captain Mark Taylor has backed the appointment of Steve Smith as Australia’s vice-captain three years after the latter was removed from the captaincy over his involvement in the New Zealand ball tampering scandal.
Smith has returned to the lead role as vice-captain for newly appointed captain Pat Cummins, who was promoted to captain when Tim Paine was involved in a “sexting” controversy earlier this month.
Taylor, who captained Australia in 50 Tests from 1994 to 1999, acknowledged that Smith’s return would not be universally accepted but said it could help improve his involvement in the 2018 incident in South Africa.
Talking to Sydney Morning Herald, Taylor said, “I don’t think he’d be too disappointed, he may well have wanted to become captain again, but I don’t see Steve Smith at home bashing the desk. He’s got an opportunity now to be involved in the game as a leader, albeit not as openly.”
“I think if he does a lot of good things, which I’m sure he will for Australian cricket, it will even help heal the wounds from Cape Town nearly four years ago.” He added.
Smith was the captain of the team during the chapter known as “Sand Paper Gate” when he, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were disciplined for ball tampering during the third Test against South Africa. The 32-year-old was removed from the captaincy and given a 12-month ban from international cricket, as well as a two-year suspension from leadership roles, which he completed last year.
Cummins, who became the first fast bowler to become Australia’s captain for the first time in 65 years, asked Smith to be given the vice-captaincy when he was promoted to senior role and Taylor expects leadership dynamic to be different from the past.
Taylor said, “I think he’s handling it the right way, this is going to be very different. I think all of us ex-captains, in a way we’ve had a similar type plan – the captain runs the cricket team.
“Straight away Pat’s already setting the ground rules that this will be different, so all of us who have an opinion on how the Australian cricket team should be run have to think a little bit differently because this will be a changing of the guard.”
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