Lehmann: Smith will be a really good leader


Australia coach Darren Lehmann has backed batsman Steve Smith to make a success of the Test captaincy when he gets the role, as expected, after the fifth Ashes Test.

With current skipper Michael Clarke announcing that he will be retiring from international cricket when the final Ashes Test is done, vice-captain Smith will get probably the most demanding job in Australian society.

Smith has already had a taste of leading the side when he led the Aussies toa two-nil series win over India at the end of last year after Clarke was struck down by injury.

Lehmann said: "We lost one of our greats and when you lose someone as great a player as Michael was – and a leader – you've got to find the next man and that I would think, with board approval, that would be Steve Smith.

"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.

"He did a great job in a caretaker role for us under really tough circumstances, (following the death of Philip Hughes). I think he'll grow and be a really good leader.

"I think it improved Michael's batting and hopefully it's the same for Steven. He's a good player."

With Australia having already relinquished the Ashes, the fifth and final Test, and Clarke's last, starts on 20 August at the Oval.