Australia captain Steve Smith dismisses claims of favouritism in selection as 'absolute garbage'

Questions were raised about Smith's involvement in the New South Wales team decision to drop veteran opener Ed Cowan from a recent game against South Australia.

AFP, November 03, 2017

Sydney: Australia skipper Steve Smith on Friday rubbished claims he favours his "mates" as selection looms for the highly anticipated Ashes Test series with England.

Smith is not part of Australia's three-man selection panel, but he has been assailed by former players who believe he gets too much say in Australia's lineups.

File image of Steve Smith. Getty Images

File image of Steve Smith. Getty Images

The captain hit back strongly at a media conference in Sydney, calling suggestions of favouritism "absolute garbage".

"I'm not a selector, but I certainly speak to the selectors a lot and express my views," Smith told reporters.

"All this rubbish about me picking my mates, it's absolute garbage. I certainly don't agree with that."

Questions were raised about Smith's involvement in the New South Wales team decision to drop veteran opener Ed Cowan from a recent game against South Australia, with young Test hopeful Daniel Hughes preferred in his place.

Blues coach Trent Johnston said it was one of the toughest decisions of his coaching career to leave out the former Test opener, who was the top run-scorer in last season's Sheffield Shield.

Cowan told Fox Sports : "I don't agree with that selection policy, but it's the Australian Test captain, it's his team."

This prompted criticism from former Test paceman Rodney Hogg, among others, of Smith's alleged "captain's calls" at the selection table.

While Smith has bristled at the suggestion, he also insisted he was largely unconcerned.

"People can say what they like," the 28-year-old said. "I'll read it, but it doesn't bother me. I'll just get on with it."

England begin their tour in a two-day hit-out against a WA XI in Perth, starting on Saturday, in the build-up to the first Ashes Test in Brisbane on 23 November.

Smith rates the Ashes battle with Joe Root's tourists as the biggest challenge he's faced as Australia captain.

"No doubt. Ashes series are always big," Smith said. "This is my first Ashes series as captain and it's going to be a good challenge."

Although the world's top-rated batsman, Smith has not scored a century since his 111 against India at Dharamsala in March.

Smith, who has a batting average of 59.66 from 56 Tests with 20 centuries, hasn't started the new domestic season in great scoring shape either. But he said he hopes things are now coming together.

"I haven't felt great for a little while now," he said.

"I think I've made some progress the last couple of days. It'll be good to spend some time in the middle to just reaffirm that.

"Had a really good hit today, felt like I figured things out at the end."

Updated Date: Nov 03, 2017

T20 LEAGUE POINTS TABLE

Pos. Team P W L D Pts.
1
Kolkata
5 3 2 0 6
2
Hyderabad
4 3 1 0 6
3
Punjab
4 3 1 0 6
4
Chennai
3 2 1 0 4
5
Rajasthan
4 2 2 0 4
6
Mumbai
4 1 3 0 2
7
Bangalore
4 1 3 0 2
8
Delhi
4 1 3 0 2



Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5313 121
2 South Africa 5154 117
3 New Zealand 3886 102
4 Australia 4599 102
5 England 5029 97
6 Sri Lanka 4374 95
Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 7594 122
2 South Africa 6911 117
3 England 7496 117
4 New Zealand 7081 114
5 Australia 6376 112
6 Pakistan 4877 96
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 3763 130
2 Australia 2513 126
3 India 4341 124
4 New Zealand 3013 116
5 England 2402 114
6 South Africa 2551 111