‘Paid bigger price than anyone else’ – Jason Gillespie backs Steve Smith’s return to Australia captaincy

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Steve Smith

Former Australia pacer Jason Gillespie has backed Steve Smith to lead the national side again after his infamous ball-tampering saga. Gillespie said that he won’t be upset if Smith returns as Australia’s skipper as he has already paid a ‘bigger price’ for his crime.

Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were slapped with a 12-month ban following the ball-tampering incident in 2018 against South Africa. Smith was also stripped of the captaincy and banned for two years from leading the national side.

In Smith’s truancy, Tim Paine was assigned the captaincy role in the traditional format while Aaron Finch led the limited-overs side. However, after Smith’s return to the side, questions over giving him the captain’s hat still prevail.

“When the whole ball-tampering incident happened in Cape Town, I didn’t think Steve Smith would captain Australia again. That said, I have softened my stance on that upon reflection,” Gillespie told Sportstar ahead of the much-awaited India’s tour of Australia. 

“These guys have paid a bigger price than anyone else in the history of the game had to pay for an offence like that. It’s almost like you do the crime, you do the time, and wipe the slate clean. Steve Smith is a natural leader, and if he is appointed Test captain after Tim Paine, I wouldn’t be upset about that,” he added.

India will tour Australia for 3 T20Is, 3 ODIs and 4 Tests, starting November 27. Though Virat Kohli became the first Indian captain to win a Test series (2-1) on Australian soil in 2018/19, the hosts were without their two vital players —  Smith and Warner.

“There are other options available, like Pat Cummins. Could a fast bowler do that role (of captaincy)? It’s traditionally not the done thing… If fast bowlers are given captaincy roles, they tend to either over-bowl or under-bowl themselves,” Gillespie further said.

“I feel we should leave the bowlers be the bowlers… I think a batsman or a ’keeper should take the captaincy reins. That said, I am not ruling out the possibility of Cummins taking over the role. Travis Head is another option; he has been captaining South Australia since the age of 20 – he is a vastly experienced leader,” he signed off.

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