Rod Marsh wants to put a cap on captaincy. Picture: AFP
Rod Marsh wants to put a cap on captaincy. Picture: AFP

Why Smith should never captain Australia again

STEVE Smith's hopes of a Test captaincy comeback have been called into question by Rod Marsh who claims the Australian outcast may have already reached the end of the road.

Cricket Australia has banned Smith from captaincy for two-years for his role in the ball-tampering scandal, but with a dearth of natural leaders and star players coming through the ranks, many believe the champion batsman could be destined to resume the throne as a 31-year-old man.

Former National Selector and Test great Marsh agrees that a return as skipper could happen, but he has expressed grave concerns over whether Smith could banish the mental demons he saw turn Michael Clarke, Greg and Ian Chappell dark.

Respected cricket minds around the country are worried about what role the lack of accountability taken by Cricket Australia administrators might play on the minds of the already tortured and cynical Smith and David Warner.

Marsh has written in his newly released completely illustrated autobiography 'Rod Marsh', that the 34 matches Smith has already spent as Australian captain should be an arbitrary limit for any Test cricket skipper due to the outside influences that can make the best of leaders bitter and twisted.

"I can assure you that (30) is about the most Test matches you should captain your country for," wrote Marsh.

"There is a long history of captains totally losing the plot after about 30 Tests, which is usually about four years in the job.

"I saw both Ian and Greg Chappell become exceptionally frustrated with the Board towards the end of their captaincy.

"I saw Michael Clarke almost change his personality as his tenure approached 30 Test matches.

"I think it's even tougher now for a captain than it used to be, with all the social media and CA's insistence on making players talk to the press."

Marsh writes that he has no doubt Smith would have been "totally spent" after his "herculean" performance leading Australia to Ashes glory, adamant that led to him "making the mistake of his life".

However, Marsh says that while Smith must take his share of the blame as captain, "he was not to blame for the circumstances leading to it, or for the culture that inspired it."

Marsh has described that "culture" which he was in midst of for several years as a Selector as "toxic."

Two years relieved of the pressures of captaincy could change things for Smith. But although Marsh says he would have no problem with Smith coming back as captain if he was the right man for the job, it remains to be seen how the deposed captain will mentally absorb the enormous level of accountability he has taken, compared to the distinct lack of responsibility CA's top brass have had to shoulder.

David Warner has been banned for life from holding any leadership position in Australian cricket, a measure Marsh says is way over the top.

Marsh has revealed he was a key figure in talking a reluctant CA Board around to making Warner vice-captain for Smith.

Despite many using the Cape Town scandal as proof that Warner was a poor deputy to Smith, Marsh says he strongly disagrees and launched an impassioned defence of the exiled opener.

"He was the type of guy who would thrive on responsibility and this was the case the selectors took to the Board to have him appointed as vice-captain," writes Marsh.

"I don't think the Board wanted Davy in this position, as they worried about what might happen if the captain became injured, but we had faith in him.

"I thought he took a lot of heat off Steven when the players negotiated their MOU in 2017.

"For all the doubters, I can promise you David is a very good man. His captaincy of the T20 team and the one-day team in Sri Lanka has shown everyone what a good leader he is."

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