Steve Waugh, the legendary Australian captain, almost always exuded a poker face during his highly successful reign as skipper from 1999-2004. The 52-year-old believed Smith needed to “continue to improve” his body language.
“It’s hard. He’s a very emotional cricketer,” Waugh said on Wednesday (November 1). “He wears his heart on his sleeve, whereas I could control that a lot easier and pack my emotions away and not show too much. If it doesn’t come naturally, it’s hard to do.”
Waugh said Smith needed to be aware of the continual media attention on him and consequences of poor body language. “One thing I would say, these days if you’re at first slip and you’re kicking the ground or there’s body language that’s not positive, the chances are it’s going to be replayed somewhere and the bowlers are going to see it,” he said. “If you’re playing grade cricket you can get away with it, but not when you’ve got 20 cameras on you.”
Waugh, who captained Australia to eight Ashes victories from nine Tests, said he was always aware of the extra scrutiny placed on him as skipper. “Whatever I did was going to be magnified and monitored and exaggerated, so I made a decision to keep all my emotions in check and not give too much away,” he said.