CA defend under-fire skipper

Australia Test captain Steve Smith must be counting the days till the end of 2016, and Cricket Australia have defended the skipper despite the side’s woes.

They lost their Test series in Sri Lanka three nil a few months ago, and are one nil down in the series against South Africa. They were also bowled out for 85 on day one of the second Test.

But James Sutherland, the CA chief executive, has backed the skipper, citing his age and inexperience, and adding that they have full faith in ‘Smudge’ as leader.

Sutherland told ABC Radio’s Grandstand: “We’re certainly very conscious that Steve has come into the role much younger (than previous Australia) captains and I don’t think people have really talked about this much or appreciated it.

“He’s come into this role much younger than any of his four or five predecessors. At the end of the day, I think (Allan) Border, (Mark) Taylor, (Steve) Waugh, (Ricky) Ponting and Clarke were between 29 and 34 when they came into captaincy of Australian teams.

“Steve (Smith) was 26, and in my time (since 2001) two or three of them have come into the job and none of them have made an easy transition.

“It’s a big step up and a big challenge, even more so if you don’t have the players around you who are performing as well as they might or could.

“So that added challenge is there. But we have very high regard for Steve Smith as a person, as a leader and obviously as a cricketer.

“And we think that with his support and as he builds a team around him and they perform he’s got a very bright future as a leader for a long time to come.”