TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
“WE’VE got some pretty quiet characters …” You won’t hear many Australian captains say that, but Steve Smith did on Monday before his one-day squad’s departure for SA.
So Smith wants his men to find their inner Aussie when they play Ireland in a one-day international in Benoni next Tuesday and SA in five more ODIs, starting at Centurion next Friday.
“Even if it’s not making noise verbally it might be just about having a bit more presence and the old Australian way of puffing your chest out and making your presence felt for the quieter guys,” Smith told reporters in Sydney.
“It’s trying to … get into the game that way and try to provide some sort of energy that way.”
Smith arrived at his theory while watching television coverage of David Warner captaining Australia to victory in their ODI series in Sri Lanka, which ended on September 1.
“I thought his energy was magnificent throughout those games and looking forward that’s the sort of energy we want from him and all of the other senior players,” Smith said.
“We’ve got a pretty quiet group and we need that sort of energy come SA and the summer as well.”
Smith was watching Warner, rather than playing in the same team with him, because he was rested after the second ODI.
By then Smith had presided over his team’s 3-0 defeat in the test series and the ODI series was level at 1-1.
Under Warner, Australia swept to victory in all three remaining ODIs and the two T20s that followed.
“I thought in the test series in Sri Lanka we lacked a fair bit of energy in the field and that probably cost us at times,” Smith said.
His departure after the second ODI had been planned “a fair way out”, he said.
“The fact we only brought it out the day before probably shocked a few people, so in future if this sort of thing pops up and someone’s having a rest … it’s about getting it out a little bit earlier.”
Non-Australians will wonder whether there is more to all this than just that.
Might Smith not be casting about for ways to save his job, now that Warner is a clear rival?
Besides, since when do players – nevermind captains – scoot home in the middle of a series to rest?