Former Australia skipper Michael Clarke on Tuesday said Steve Smith still has challenges ahead as a captain and he has to find a way for his team to succeed. “As captain, he is challenged right now. He needs to find a way for his team to succeed. It’s an important few months for Australia,” Clarke, 36, said during a promotional event here.
“He is a terrific batsman and has been that for a long time now. I feel alongwith Virat (Kohli) these two are the best batsmen in the world right now,” Clarke, who replaced Ricky Ponting as skipper in 2011, said.
“As captain your first responsibility is to win games and give confidence to the team.”
Asked how opener David Warner, who played his first-ever One-day International (ODI) in India on Sunday, would cope with chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, who got the southpaw’s back, Clarke said: “David’s been playing really well.
“He spent sometime in Bangladesh. It’s hard to look at just one game. That too a 21-over game. He will find a way out. He always does. He will have a look of impact in this series. Hopefully in Kolkata one of those two guys, Steve Smith and Warner will come good,” Clarke, who called time on his career two years back, said.
Despite India winning the first of the five ODIs against Australia, Clarke predicted a 3-2 verdict in favour of the tourists.
“One match doesn’t make a difference. If the Aussies manage to win here (at the Eden Gardens in the second ODI), they can win the series 3-2. If they lose, I don’t know,” Clarke told reporters on the sidelines of an event.
Australia had India on the mat to start off the series, shaving off the top order before Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Hardik Pandya stitched together a 118-run stand for the sixth wicket to help India post a competitive 281/7 in 50 overs.
The Aussie innings was then affected by rain and they could play only 21 overs chasing a revised score of 164. They lost by 26 runs.
“Australia should’ve attacked when India were down in the dumps. They failed to do that,” Clarke said.
Clarke and former Australia chinaman Brad Hogg, also present at the event, lavished praise on Kuldeep who not only took two wickets in the last game but also scalped four wickets on debut in Dharamsala in the fourth Test against the Kangaroos earlier this year.
“Kuldeep is very good. He is an attacking bowler and spins the ball both ways. He has got a good wrong’ un. He is very controlled, for a wrist spinner it’s one of his strengths.
“To be accurate when you bowl from the back of the hand is very tough. He has got all the skills. He was brilliant in the test match he played,” he said.
“I was with him for two years in Kolkata. He always wants to learn. He has improved a lot.
“He showed (how much he has improved) in the Test match. He has lots to learn but has made a great progress. He will be something special. We will see a lot of him,” Hogg said.