New capt Smith already mulling Test XI

Steve Smith has already started moulding the Test XI he hopes to captain in Bangladesh during October.


Smith became the nation’s 45th Test captain last summer when he filled in for the injured Michael Clarke.

The end of the Ashes means Clarke’s career is over and the baton has been officially passed.

Smith will ease into the gig with five one-dayers against England next month before focusing fully on Dhaka.

Smith has voiced his desire to be an active part in the selection process.

Coach Darren Lehmann confirmed the 26-year-old had already passed on some ideas regarding the two-Test tour of Bangladesh.

“In my time I can’t remember the captain not getting the side he wants. Maybe once or twice,” Lehmann said.

“The captain has a really important part to play and he’s got to be really comfortable with the side he plays with.

“It’s our job to pick that final XI but you always consult the captain, that’s important.”

The new skipper’s most pressing concern will be working out a batting order, having floated the prospect of shifting down to No.4.

Smith failed to make runs at first drop when it mattered most in Australia’s failed campaign to retain the urn, having fallen for single-figure scores in the third and fourth Tests.

However, he was the leading run-scorer of the series and the first Australian to score over 500 runs in an away Ashes since Matthew Elliott in 1997.

The right-hander celebrated his maiden double-century at Lord’s then scored 143 at The Oval.

“I love that he’s at the top of his game batting-wise. That helps you when you take over the captaincy,” Clarke said.

“If you’re comfortable with your own game it means you can now focus on the team.

“Smithy will do a fantastic job as captain.”

Smith, speaking on The Oval dais after being named man of the match in the fifth Test, thanked Clarke for helping him prepare for the pressure-laden position.

“Michael’s been outstanding. He’s had a terrific career and been a great captain over the last few years,” he said.

“I’ve certainly learned a lot off him.”

Smith’s first concern is the limited-overs action against England, but the 2019 World Cup and Ashes are among the most notable long-term goals.

“We judge ourselves most on Ashes series,” he said.

“It’s a huge series for us, but we’ve got a lot of cricket to play before then.”