What’s the story?
Former Australian cricketer Kerry O’Keeffe has raised questions regarding current Australian skipper Steve Smith’s leadership qualities, saying that he is too emotional to be the captain of the Australian team.
Speaking to Fox Sports’ Back Page Live, O’Keeffe said, “He leads from the front (and) he's finding out about leadership. Is he temperamentally sound enough to be the captain of our country? Probably not because he's so emotional. We've seen when he's on the field he's overly reacting to everything.”
“That catch was (not) cleanly taken. He decided to go with the cheat line. There's an emotion to Steve Smith that basically is at the core of his game,” he added.
Smith’s emotions had got the better of him on several occasions during the recently concluded Test series against India.
Day three of the fourth and final Test match was a prime example of Smith not getting a hold of his emotions when he was caught on camera accusing Murali Vijay of cheating. Vijay had claimed a grounded catch which led the Australian skipper to seemingly mouth "f***ing cheat" from the balcony of Australia's change room.
This was not the first heated moment that the Australian captain found himself at the centre of. During the second Test match, Smith had looked towards the dressing room for advice on whether to take the DRS after his dismissal.
The heart of the matter
Kerry O’Keeffe, who was considered as the next big Australian spinner when he first arrived on the scene in the early 1970s, admonished Smith for his reactions to the catch that Vijay claimed. However, the Australian captain did apologise in a press conference after the end of the series which Australia lost 2-1.
The skipper said that he had been very intense and had let his emotions take over his actions. Smith’s apology drew praise from former Indian great Sunil Gavaskar who believed that the Aussie deserved credit for owning up to his mistakes.
Smith’s apology does heal the wounds to some extent but it remains to be seen if he can contain his emotions on the pitch. It will be interesting to see how he fits in the IPL where he has to play with a host of Indian players. He does have some time to reflect on his actions before the IPL kicks off next week.
A true leader not only leads the team with his performances but also with his actions. While the 27-year-old is one of the best batsmen of the current generation, he is yet to evolve into the complete captain. But, first of all, he has to improve as a person.