Steve Smith contacted Shane Warne after Australia’s highest wicket-taker disagreed with the batsman returning to a leadership role. Warne wrote a column late last month saying Smith should never captain Australia again following the infamous ball-tampering scandal of 2018.
The king of spin doubled down on his stance in an interview with foxsports.com.au, declaring there would be “outrage” if Smith became captain if Pat Cummins ever missed a Test.
“They won’t make Steve Smith captain, they can’t do that, I wouldn’t have thought they’ll do that,” Warne told foxsports.com.au.
“I don’t agree with him being vice-captain, I just don’t agree with that.
“I think how can a captain on his watch (allow) Sandpaper Gate (to) happen and a player like David Warner, who has got the best cricket brain, suddenly never be able to be a leader but the captain, where it happened on his watch, is allowed to become the vice-captain. It doesn’t make any sense to me whatsoever.”
Speaking late on day one on Fox Cricket after Australia knocked over England for 147 inside two sessions, the leadership team of Cummins and Smith once again were subject of discussion.
Former Australian batsman Mark Waugh said he had no issues with Smith returning to a leadership position.
“I think it’s the right move to have Steve Smith as vice-captain,” Waugh told Fox Cricket. “He made a mistake, we all know that. We move on, he paid a heavy penalty I feel at the time, so I think he’s probably learnt that.
“We all make mistakes, as long as you learn from your mistakes.
“To me he’s the obvious vice-captain in the team. If Pat Cummins does get a niggle or needs to rest from a Test, you need someone with experience to take over. I’m happy with it. Warnie’s got a different opinion on it, which is fine.”
Warne again reiterated he would have opted to go for a clean slate, before revealing Smith contacted him to question his public disapproval.
“I spoke to Steve Smith,” Warne revealed. “He messaged me and said, ‘Jeez, you’re a bit harsh on me aren’t you’ and we talked it out. That’s what respect does.
“Just because someone doesn’t like your opinion doesn’t mean you have to get nasty and personal about it. Everyone’s allowed to have their opinion. Just because you don’t agree with it.
“I was happy Steve Smith contacted me because I consider him a friend. We’ve worked together at the Rajasthan Royals, I used to work with him when he was bowling, was he a leg-spinner a long-time ago? So we’ve got a respect for each other and it was nice of him to actually ring me and say, ‘Mate, why did you think that?’
“I told him my point of view and he said, ‘I understand it and I’m sure a lot of people have that point of view too.’
“But it doesn’t mean we don’t like each other, so we respect each other and I like Steve Smith, how could you not? He’s a great guy, he’s one of the best Test batsmen in the world, if not the best in the Test arena, so I think that’s how it should be.
“Someone shouldn’t be personally attacked for having an opinion and just because you don’t agree with it, whatever there is, there’s got to be respect.
“Like he said to me, he said ‘Mate, you’ve been in the game for 30-odd years, you’ve earned the right to have your opinion and I respect it, I just don’t agree with it.’
“And that’s OK, I Just think there’s been too much if you have a different opinion.”