Aussie skipper, Steven Smith, hit back at Graeme Smith's comments about Australian cricket being on the wane, by questioning the former Protea skipper's knowledge of Australian cricket. He insisted that his players are unaffected by the issues which Graeme Smith pointed out.
"I'm not sure what Graeme Smith knows about Australian cricket," Smith said. "He obviously wasn't involved in it. I think the team's in a good place at the moment, we've got a good culture, built on constant improvement and getting better. The guys are in a good place, we're a tight-knit group and we're ready to hopefully turn this around this week."
Graeme Smith had, earlier in the week, described Australian cricket as being in "turmoil" and felt that the culture was going down as a result of which the results have been poor. He pointed to a lack of "self-belief" and confidence as prime reasons for Australia's poor showing in Tests.
After being whitewashed in the Tests in Sri Lanka, Australia managed to edge the Lankans in the ODIs and T20Is but then lost to South Africa 5-0 in the ODI series. Graeme Smith believed that was where the issues started to crop up. With the Perth Test going the visitors‘ way, the cracks are now wide open in the Aussie line-up as per Smith.
On Wednesday evening, Graeme Smith was inducted as a Bradman Honouree at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) alongside Bill Lawry. The ex-South African skipper felt that Steven Smith looks lost as a captain.
"I look at him and you kind of think he's trying to figure a lot of stuff out at the moment," Graeme Smith said. "But as a leader, I think you need to understand that for yourself about who you are and that's the only time you can really get your team to play with that personality. I think he's trying to figure that all out at the moment. It certainly looks that way and he looks a bit lost."
Steven Smith, though, felt that the criticism will go under the mat once the team starts to show good results. He admitted that he expected to be criticised after the team's poor showing in Tests of late.
Graeme has been assisting the Proteas skipper, Faf du Plessis, during this tour, being the only South African captain to have a grasp of Australian cricket after winning back to back Test series'.
Apart from Graeme Smith, a few other Australian cricketers, notably Shane Warne also spoke about Smith's poor captaincy at Perth. Warne talked about Smith holding back Lyon in Perth and not using him to good effect. Smith, however, offered a dead bat to this statement as he said, "Warney's entitled to his opinion, but I stand by the way I did things." He stated that reverse swing was a critical factor in Perth and by bowling the seamers he was trying to extract some help from the surface.
He ended by stating that he expects the team to rally up for Hobart and put in a better performance. He felt the atmosphere in the dressing room was upbeat despite the Perth loss and expects the team to "get the job done" in the second Test.