Sydney - Shamed former Australia captain Steve Smith has backed fellow
ball-tamperer Cameron Bancroft as an astute choice to skipper English
county side Durham after his appointment raised eyebrows.
Smith, Bancroft and David Warner were all banned over the scandal
involving sandpaper to alter the ball in South Africa last year, but are
now back playing.
While Warner was also barred from ever holding a leadership role
again and Smith prevented from doing so for 12 months after his one-year
suspension expired, Bancroft was free to assume a captaincy.
Durham appointed him last month, insisting he was "the best available
option" despite criticism from some quarters, including former English
bowler Darren Gough who slammed it as "disgraceful".
But Smith said Bancroft had shown "great character" in the way he handled his ban and return to cricket.
"Cam is a good choice for captain," Smith told ESPNcricinfo. "He's
got a good head on his shoulders and has shown great character in the
way he has come back after his time out.
"It has been a tough time for him no doubt, but he's a good guy who will do his best for Durham and will lead them well.
"He gets the game pretty well and has a good understanding of strategy and players," he added.
"He's found a bit of form with the bat and will be able to use his experience in a positive way."
Bancroft's selection was controversial not just due to the cheating
scandal but also because he is missing Durham's Championship opener to
attend Western Australia's end-of-season awards dinner and could also be
selected for Australia's Ashes series in England.
Durham chief executive Tim Bostock has defended his appointment.
"I think he'll be a breath of fresh air, he'll bring a different perspective to leadership," he said last month.
Bancroft is one of around 10 Australian players set to appear for
English county sides this season, including Joe Burns, Shaun Marsh and