Sydney: Australia's Steve Smith has vowed to be a more aggressive captain if he is appointed to lead the side as expected following a disastrous Ashes campaign which prompted Michael Clarke's retirement. The 26-year-old, in line to take over after Clarke's final Test at The Oval later this month, has promised to be less defensive than he was while captaining against India at home earlier this year.
"I think the two games that we drew I could probably be a bit more aggressive there and give ourselves more of a chance to bowl the opposition out," Smith told The Australian. "But in regards to my captaincy I think it'll be pretty similar." Smith skippered Australia in Tests against India during the last home season when Clarke was sidelined with a hamstring injury, and made centuries in all three Tests where he was skipper.
"Every game I've captained so far I've scored a hundred. I'd like that... to keep going, hopefully it does," he said. "If I am named the captain I would like to lead from the front with my performances, for sure." Smith said one of the lessons of this miserable Ashes tour, in which Australia were all out for only 60 runs in their first innings at Trent Bridge in the fourth Test, was patience.
"They make you earn your runs... all of their bowlers swing the ball both ways," Smith said in comments to Australian Associated Press. "The learnings are just about trying to get yourself in. Be really patient at the start of your innings. "In Australia we're taught to play out in front a little bit more. You have to really wait for the ball here in England."
Clarke, 34, announced he was retiring after England completed a crushing innings and 78-run victory at Trent Bridge on Saturday to take an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match series. Rumblings about his captaincy continued on Tuesday, with former Australia coach John Buchanan saying the culture of the team's 'Baggy Green' cap suffered under the prolific batsman.
"Players like Steve Waugh, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and others really tried to make the 'Baggy Green' culture something special, but I could sense it was under threat and under Michael's captaincy I can sense it has disappeared a bit and that disappointed me," he told News Corp.
"I can remember guys like Hayden and (Justin) Langer sitting him down in a corner and trying to get him to understand what we were trying to achieve. "There were times when I felt Michael did not understand or did not want to understand." Clarke angrily dismissed claims of team disunity, saying Monday that the players were "as tight as any team I've been a part of".
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