Waugh tips Smith to be next Aussie skipper

Former Australia batsman Mark Waugh, now a selector, feels all-rounder Steve Smith is the leading candidate for the national captaincy, but only with a year or two’s extra experience.

While Michael Clarke has given no indication of stepping down, his lower back issues could end his career earlier than he’d like. George Bailey is not really a Test player, while Smith has come on in leaps and bounds in recent months.

Waugh feels the young spinner, whose batting has been excellent recently, has the cricketing brain required to lead the side, and he does have Big Bash captaincy experience, with the Sydney Sixers.

Waugh said in the Canberra Times: “Obviously, Michael Clarke is there at the moment but Steve Smith has probably been one of the names that’s been bandied around. David Warner’s name has been there as well.

“Hopefully it won’t happen for a while and Pup [Clarke] will play for a few years yet. But you need someone who is going to be in the team, for a starter, and I think logically looking at it, Steve Smith is probably there or thereabouts, isn’t he?

“The more you play at international level, the more confident you get in your own ability. He reads the game very well, even that catch he took the other night [to dismiss Pakistan’s Fawad Alam in Abu Dhabi], that was great anticipation.

“He’s a smart cricketer and a very good player. He’s got all the attributes to be a good captain, without putting too much pressure on him, because he’s only really just started his Test career.

“You throw his name around but his career is only just evolving. Ideally, you’d like to see him play another couple of years before he had the pressure of the captaincy.

“It’s not easy to find an Australian captain. And there is probably not as many players around these days as, say, when I played. You probably could have had five or six guys you could probably look at.

“I’m sure we’ll be OK. But there is probably not an abundance of people putting their hand up just yet.”