Steve Waugh says Steve Smith handling the pressures of captaincy very well


Mumbai : Steve Waugh, the former Australian captain, praised Steve Smith's leadership but believes burnout is a concern for him. He fears burnout for Smith due to the weight of responsibilities he is carrying on his shoulders. He took up captaincy of Tests in 2014. 

"I don't think he's made too many mistakes since he's taken over the captaincy," Waugh told on Thursday (June 16). "It's been a huge learning curve but he also has the challenge of captaining three different forms of the game, which very few captains do these days Waugh said. "Admittedly, the only question mark is mentally how much the last six months has taken (out of him)," he added. "I think (the demands can) become mentally draining because of the challenges associated with (captaining three national teams) where you have three different groups of players coming in-and-out of the teams. So, you need good people around you, you need good support from the coaches and from senior players. However, from what I've seen Steve seems to be handling the pressures very well."

Smith has been vocal about his concerns over the day-night Test and believes the next Ashes series in Australia, scheduled for 2017-18, should not have a pink ball Test. Waugh, who won 41 from 57 Tests as captain from 1999-2004, urged Smith not to be distracted by peripheral issues. "When you play, you get caught up with what's going on … it might be the ball you're using or whether it is playing in a day-night Test," Waugh said. "But when you finish up you go 'it probably doesn't really matter all that much because the best team is still going to win'. If you have the skills and you are mentally tough you're going to do well in any conditions.

"I would tell Steve (Smith) to just back yourself whatever you confront whether it is the pink ball or a day-night Test, if you have the skill level you're still going to win," Waugh added. "I think sometimes we make too much of a mistake (in worrying) that the conditions aren't perfect but you realise 'we just have to get on with it'." Waugh, who played 168 Tests and 325 One-Day Internationals, had a lengthy career spanning nearly two decades but just missed the T20 era. 

He believed Smith was burdened by captaining three formats and would require a break to ensure he does not get overworked. "I didn't have (to worry about) three forms, I had the two and the captaincy was taken away from me for the one-day stuff for the last couple of years," Waugh said. "It's all-encompassing and there's a lot expected of you; you have to do things like front the media, and I think I did more media than the captains who came after me .

Tthey tend to share the workload (among the players) with the press and that's a good thing. "For me it was getting away up the coast to our holiday place and doing some fishing for a couple of days and getting away from the phone and the technology," Waugh explained. "That's the hardest thing these days, you need an escape where you can fish, read a book, watch a movie to get away from cricket and recharge the batteries."