Australian captain, Steve Smith handed over the captaincy to vice Captain David Warner for the remaining three ODIs and two T20Is in Sri Lanka. Smith’s decision surprised many and drew flak from his predecessors like Michael Clarke and Shane Warne.
The Australian selectors’ panel head, Rod Marsh, in a statement, said, “Steve has a large amount of cricket coming up in the next 12 months and we wanted to find a time for him to freshen up and these last five matches provide a good opportunity to do so.”
The captain needs a break
Yes, Smith has played more than 500 days of cricket. Before the break, his competitive cricket journey started in Indian Premier League (IPL) with now suspended Rajasthan Royals. Since then he joined Australian team and scored 13 Test hundred, involved in 17 series. As a captain, he played 24 matches and played 83 matches as a batsman.
So, for a cricketer who is serving his country without a break needs a hiatus to come back as a refreshed man before the grueling winter starts which will be comprised of South Africa series, New Zealand series and India tour.
But, the question is: Is Smith’s decision to leave his ODI team midway through the series justifiable? Australia lost the first two matches following the 3-0 Test series defeat under his captaincy.
During the Test series, Australian batsmen crumbled against the spin bowling of Rangana Hearth and Lakshan Sandakan. Smith during the series looked visibly frustrated as his failure to play spin on turning pitches of Sri Lanka was exposed. Australian bowler Mitchell Starc bowled well, but Sri Lankan middle order’s resistance spoiled Australia’s early hard work and Australian batsmen weren’t able to give Sri Lanka a fitting reply because Australian batsmen couldn’t play spin.
Smith is not in a good form
Smith during the series was looking frustrated as his batsmen were vulnerable to the spin. Rangana Herath tormented Australian batsmen. In the last one year, Australia are the only side to lose against Sri Lanka. In 2015 Pakistan and India defeated Sri Lankan team which was without any big names, but this Sri Lankan team after the tour of England groomed themselves and utilizing the home conditions defeated Australia. Batsmen like Dhananjaya de Silva and Dinesh Chandimal rose to the occasion to make Australia’s work difficult.
Smith, after the grueling Test series during which he didn’t find his form, failed to counter the spin bowling. So could keep himself away from the limited over a game if he wanted. Smith during his last press conference in Sri Lanka said, “I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t replayed my dismissals from this series over and over in my head when I’ve been alone in my hotel room.” It is visible that he was tired of playing cricket around the months.
Steve Smith felt burdened about captaincy