Captain Steve Smith has labelled claims that he has too much of a say in national selection as "absolute garbage".
Smith, who is not part of Australia's three-man selection panel for Test and ODI cricket, has come under fire from some former players who believe he is a major decision-maker when it comes to picking Australia's best XI.
It's a claim that was strongly refuted by the skipper in Sydney today.
"I'm not a selector, but I certainly speak to the selectors a lot and express my views," he said.
"All this rubbish about me picking my mates, it's absolute garbage. I certainly don't agree with that."
Smith conceded last week that he did have an involvement in NSW's decision to drop veteran Ed Cowan from the JLT Sheffield Shield opener against South Australia, with Test aspirant Daniel Hughes chosen in his place.
Cowan, a former Test opener who was last summer's leading Shield run-scorer, was the unlucky player to miss out in a NSW top six that included Smith and Test vice-captain David Warner as well as Hughes, Moises Henriques, Nic Maddinson and Kurtis Patterson. Blues coach Trent Johnston labelled Cowan's axing one of the toughest he's made in his coaching career.
In a low-scoring match in Adelaide, Hughes was one of just two NSW batsman to post a half-century, scoring 64 runs and being dismissed once.
Cowan applauded Smith for delivering some honest feedback regarding his axing, but added the skipper had to live and die by selection decisions that are made with his input.
"You can deal with honest feedback in that sense ... to have the Test captain say ‘he got picked because we think he can be a Test cricketer’," Cowan told Fox Sports of the decision to opt for Hughes.
"I don’t agree with that selection policy, but it’s the Australian Test captain, it’s his team."
Cowan's comments came after the likes of former Test quick Rodney Hogg, former Tasmania paceman Brett Geeves and former Victoria gloveman Darren Berry called for Smith's alleged "captain's calls" at selection to stop.
"Smith shouldn’t be a selector," Hogg told SEN. "We saw Maddinson get selected, (he’s) a mate, he’s one of Steve Smith’s mates. You can’t pick bloody mates.
"I think the captain’s getting his own way."
While Smith today fired back at the criticism, he said he was largely unconcerned.
"People can say what they like," he said. "I'll read it, but it doesn't bother me. I'll just get on with it."
Australia’s selection panel for Test and ODI cricket, which was revamped in March, consists of coach Darren Lehmann as well as Trevor Hohns and Greg Chappell, while Mark Waugh and Hohns focus on the T20 side.
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Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 13
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Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21