Steve Waugh believes Steve Smith is still adjusting to no longer being Australia captain as he prepares to make his Test comeback. Former skipper Smith will make his return to the Test arena, alongside David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, for the first time since the trio were banned for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal against South Africa in March 2018.
Smith and Warner both featured for the Baggy Greens during the recent ODI World Cup, but Waugh believes it will be a baptism of fire for all three players when they make their return to Test cricket during the Ashes series in England. “You want some passion from the spectators, you want them to get involved,” Waugh told Sky Sports. “I don’t necessarily agree with booing but it’s going to happen and good quality players will block that out and perhaps use it as motivation to play well.”
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Waugh, who captained Australia himself between 1999 and 2004, believes Warner is already showing he can cope with the hostile English support, but he feels it may be taking Smith longer to adjust given he is also coping with the loss of the captaincy. “David Warner’s done it really well so far,” Waugh added.
“Steve Smith is probably just getting used to that dynamic. It’s different for him being a captain too, because that’s the highest honour you can have as a player and to lose that, it’s a little bit deflating. “It puts you off kilter a little bit and it takes a while to find that balance and I think it’s taken him a few games to feel comfortable again.”