Australia coach Darren Lehmann has backed the decision to rest skipper Steve Smith for the remaining one-day international series against Sri Lanka after criticism from ex-captain Michael Clarke, reports said on Friday.
Smith will miss three ODIs and two Twenty20 games to return home and prepare for next month’s one-day series in South Africa.
Smith played in all three losing Tests against the Sri Lankans and the first two one-day internationals before it was announced he would fly home to rest up. Clarke, who retired after last year’s Ashes defeat in England, expressed his surprise at the decision. “I would of (sic) liked to have seen the captain play until the series was won and then have a rest,” World Cup-winning skipper Clarke said on social media.
“In the same breath if Smithy needed a break then he should have flown home after the Test matches not 2x ODIs in.”
Former Test opener Michael Slater echoed Clarke’s sentiments, but Lehmann said he had no issue with their comments. “It’s obviously a burden but a great burden captaining your country,” Lehmann was quoted as saying in Australian newspapers.