Smith fumes over team selection for Ashes series
Sydney: Australia skipper Steve Smith on Friday rubbished claims he favours his "mates" as selection looms for the highly anticipated Ashes Test series with England.
Smith is not part of Australia's three-man selection panel, but he has been assailed by former players who believe he gets too much say in Australia's lineups.
The captain hit back strongly at a media conference in Sydney, calling suggestions of favouritism "absolute garbage".
"I'm not a selector, but I certainly speak to the selectors a lot and express my views," Smith told reporters.
"All this rubbish about me picking my mates, it's absolute garbage. I certainly don't agree with that."
Questions were raised about Smith's involvement in the New South Wales team decision to drop veteran opener Ed Cowan from a recent game against South Australia, with young Test hopeful Daniel Hughes preferred in his place.
Blues coach Trent Johnston said it was one of the toughest decisions of his coaching career to leave out the former Test opener, who was the top run-scorer in last season's Sheffield Shield.