(Photo: Getty Images)
By Peter Hayter
FORMER England captain Michael Vaughan has claimed Australian skipper Steve Smith (left) may be susceptible to the expectation of leading the clear favourites in the upcoming Ashes, and has urged England to try to “get him flapping”.
Vaughan, who captained England to possibly their greatest Ashes win, against Ricky Ponting’s Aussies in 2005, believes he has spotted a potential weakness in Smith’s make-up, which he wants Joe Root’s players to exploit in the five-Test series.
Vaughan said: “I like the way Steve Smith captains, but I do think you can get him flapping. I’m a big believer in the importance of body language. At times you feel inside you want to let loose, let some emotions out… the captains who survive the test of time and portray the best body language to the team stay calm, very level, and they are the ones that win the bigger moments.
“And I saw in Smith last year when Australia played Pakistan, particularly at Brisbane in the run chase in second innings, when you felt there was a time when Pakistan may get over the line, there was a little bit of the kicking the ground, hands on the hips, giving the hand gestures to the bowlers, and England can play on that.
“England have got to focus on the process of scoring runs. Score runs and the spotlight will be on the opposing captain.
“This is your role as a batting unit. The longer you are out there batting, the more you are asking questions of the opposing captain: to try to produce a bit of magic.
“And if he does not, and you are out there long enough to get the 450s, 500s, then questions get pointed to the opposing captain.
“Generally it is the norm to blame the captain. That’s just sport, that is what you take on as a leader. All right, the bowlers have bowled poorly. But a lot of the time the finger gets pointed at you.
“England have to try to get Smith back into the mould of Brisbane last year.”