The Former Australian captain Michael Clarke criticized Steve Smith’s decision to leave the Australian team in the middle of the grueling Sri Lanka tour. Clarke says if current captain Steve Smith needed a break from touring, he should have done so following the recent Test series in Sri Lanka instead of leaving current ODI side in the middle of uncertainty in Sri Lanka. Smith will fly to Australia today and miss the final three ODI and two Twenty20 Internationals to follow against Sri Lanka over the coming weeks.

The 27-year-old captain took over the captaincy from Michael Clarke, during Australia’s tour of New Zealand. Smith needs to refresh himself before the grueling tours of South Africa, New Zealand, and India before the ICC Champions Trophy gets underway in England in June 2017. Clarke, who  knows better than most the pressure of captaincy and constant touring, empathized with his contemporary’s need for some time off.

But Clarke questioned Smith’s commitment. Clarke said Smith should have taken a break before the first two ODIs in Colombo and not during a series.

“I would have liked to have seen the captain play until the series was won and then have a rest,” Clarke posted on Twitter.

“In the same breath if Smithy needed a break then he should have flown home after the Test matches not 2x ODIs in.”

Clarke was responding to a post from former Australia opener Michael Slater, who had criticized the decision to send Smith home.

Smith now joins allrounder Mitchell Marsh in returning home from Sri Lanka earlier than expected after the allrounder was excused from limited-overs matches in order to freshen up for the coming months.

Speaking following Australia’s 82 run defeat in Colombo, Smith said he  took quite some convincing to leave his captaincy post midway through a grueling series, but the sheer volume of international cricket ahead ultimately convinced him via the national selection panel that it was in his and Australian cricket’s best long-term interests to have a spell.

According to Cricket Australia recently discussions about the need to find a suitable window within the packed schedule over coming months were initially held between Smith and selectors Rod Marsh and coach Darren Lehman prior to the Test series starting in Sri Lanka a month ago.

Steve Smith said that the decision of leaving the team captaincy in the hand of David Warner a mutual agreement.  “We spoke about it at the start of the Test series,” Smith said.

“We had a few discussions, myself, Darren and Rod who also consulted with the other selectors (Mark Waugh and Trevor Hohns) and it took me a bit of convincing to get me over the line.” Smith further added.

“I hate missing cricket but I think in the long run having a bit of a break will do me the world of good,” the underperforming captain said.

“Obviously with South Africa the next series (of ODIs in South Africa next month) and a big summer with six Test matches (against South Africa and Pakistan in Australia) and a few one-dayers against New Zealand in between before we go to India (for four Tests next February and March).

“So it was talked about, to try and give me a little break at some point. “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the last week or so since the last Test match, I thought we turned things around well in the first one-day match (last Sunday) but today was disappointing again.

“So we have a lot of work to do in the subcontinent and I’m sure I’ll think a lot more over the next couple of weeks while I’m at home as well,” Smith signed off.