"Pat Cummins, Justin Langer Believe In Him": Jason Gillespie "Comfortable" With Steve Smith's Return To Leadership Role
Former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie said he is "comfortable" to see Steve Smith back in the leadership group after the infamous ball-tampering scandal in 2018.
- Gillespie said he is "comfortable" to see Steve Smith back in leadership
- Smith was named as vice-captain of Australia Test team last week
- First match of this year's Ashes will start from December 8 in Brisbane
Former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie said he is "comfortable" to see Steve Smith back in the leadership group after the infamous ball-tampering scandal in 2018. Smith was appointed as Australia's Test vice-captain while Pat Cummins was named skipper in another major turn of events in Australian cricket, triggered by Tim Paine's controversial exit both as captain and also as the team's wicketkeeper-batter.
Smith was Australia's all-format captain when the ball-tampering scandal rocked the cricketing world. He along with David Warner was banned for 12 months. Cricket Australia had also announced that Smith won't be eligible to captain Australia for two years while Warner will never be considered for a leadership role.
Three years later, Smith returned to the leadership group as the vice-captain of the Test side, a couple of weeks before the Ashes. Former Australian cricketers like Shane Warner, Ian Chappell did not welcome the decision and said Cricket Australia did not set the right example.
Gillespie admitted that he too was one of those who thought Smith should never be included in the leadership group after the 'sandpapergate' but the former speedster said he changed his mind over time.
"At the time of the 'sandpapergate', I did not think he (Smith) would be involved in a leadership role with Australia again. I was vocal about that, but over time I have probably changed my tune and I certainly think he can have the leadership role," Gillespie told NDTV in a select media interaction organised by Sony Sports Network.
Gillespie said Smith has suffered a lot due to his involvement in the ball-tampering saga and it was perhaps time to move on.
"A lot of water has gone under the bridge and he's paid a very heavy price in my opinion and probably, and a bit unfairly. Cummins, the captain, has made it clear that he believes Smith will be a massive asset in the leadership role. (Coach) Justin Langer also believes in that. If it is good enough for the Australian captain and the coach, I am comfortable seeing him in that role," he added.
Asked about Australia's chances against England despite the controversies, Gillespie sounded confident.
"England have played a lot of Test cricket, and county cricket. The Australians, since that series against India, have not played much first-class cricket, especially a couple of the bowlers have not had that opportunity. However, they are experienced campaigners. The scheduling has been such that it has not been possible for them to play much first-class. I still maintain Australia as favourites," he said.
Watch the 1st Test of The Ashes Tour 2021, LIVE on SONY SIX (English), SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) & SONY TEN 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels, 5:30 am IST onwards from 8th to 12th December 2021.