Bill Lawry, legendary Australian cricketer, has backed besieged Australian captain Steve Smith despite growing criticisms of his leadership.
Pressure is intensifying on Smith after Australia suffered a humiliating 177-run defeat to South Africa in the first Test at the WACA. It was Australia's fourth straight Test defeat and first loss at home in four years.
However, Lawry, who is also a long-time prominent broadcaster, said the 27-year-old needed time to grow into the role. "Smith will be a great captain, he's a super young player and he'll do well," Lawry said on Wednesday (November 9). "He's got Warner, who is one of the best opening batsman we've produced in my lifetime, so aggressive and so athletic so we've got something to build on.
"We've just got to get an attack that's steady and some batsmen that can make some runs and we might have to be patient for a while."
Adding to the intrigue, is the growing credentials of Warner, Smith's deputy. Warner's leadership received acclaim when he filled-in for Smith during the recent One-Day International series in Sri Lanka.
Graeme Smith, former South African captain, believed Warner could be an enticing alternate if Australia's slump continued. "I'm sure there's going to be a debate about him (Smith) and Warner (for the captaincy) that will come into play. No doubt," he told Fox Sports. "If he loses again I'm sure there will be that debate in the media here, I have no doubt."
Smith believed his namesake was "trying to figure a lot of stuff out".
"I certainly went through those phases in my career and you need to figure them out quickly," he said. "He's probably asking himself a lot of questions about style of play, what type of leader he is, what is the type of players that he wants to walk on to the field with.
"What is his style? Like does he want three seamers that are fast? Does he need a guy to keep it tight? Does he want a spinner? What type of line-up and then the personality of that team," he added.
Smith said the Australian captain looked "a bit lost". "I think he's trying to figure that all out at the moment," he said. "You kind of always got the feeling that there was a polarised sense in the Aussie team over the last few years and maybe Steve Smith has inherited that a little bit and trying to build again."