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There’s a possible silver lining for Steve Smith and David Warner being out of international cricket for 12 months, and Darren Lehmann resigning as coach – it might help our one-day team.
Their absence could help rejuvenate what’s been a moribund outfit, and aid our 2019 World Cup campaign.
It’s no secret that Australia’s one-day team has been in a form slump, ever since we won the 2015 World Cup.
We have our moments, and superstar players, but there are so many problem areas. The middle order, the lower middle order, the bowling, the tactics…
Smith’s leadership in the most recent ODI series against England was notably uninspired. He did things like publicly slag off Glenn Maxwell’s training, and made poor bowling choices. He was out of sorts with the bat too.
I don’t blame the bloke – he was knackered after the Ashes (obviously to an even greater extent than many people realised).
But Smith has never impressed tremendously as a one-day captain. Also, his batting seemed to fit in awkwardly in the ODI line up – should he open? Go to number three? Four? He never seemed to find a spot that really suited him.
At the end of this summer, I was hoping they’d give Warner the captaincy before the 2019 World Cup. But I also acknowledge that would’ve been unfair and mean-spirited to Smith – his one-day batting isn’t that bad, and every Australian captain deserves the chance to captain a World Cup campaign.
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Now the problem has been removed. However the obvious replacement – Warner – has also been removed, making things trickier.
Who to replace him as captain?
There’s a couple of possibilities – Aaron Finch, Mitch Marsh, George Bailey. Any of those blokes would do a fine job.
Cricket Australia should take their time, ask around, make a careful decision, and back that person until 2019.
My only requirement would be that that person only captain Australia in one-dayers. They will be fresher, more focused, able to concentrate on the one task.
This goes for the coach, too.
Lehmann’s resignation gives Cricket Australia the chance to introduce a concept long overdue – separate coaches for separate formats. It was foolish to have one person in charge of all three, especially with Lehmann being clearly at sea with T20 and also fresh out of ideas for one day cricket.
There should also be a completely different selection panel just for one-day cricket – so it’s their sole focus too.