No jobs for the boys here: Smith
AUSTRALIAN captain Steve Smith has angrily slammed suggestions he wields too much power at the selection table as "rubbish", declaring there is no such thing as jobs for the boys.
Smith admits he will have a significant say on the first Test team for the Gabba when selectors meet behind closed doors next week to effectively pick the side that will run-out for the first Test at the Gabba on November 23.
However, the 28-year-old wants it known he is not a selector, taking offence at criticism from Melbourne that he looks after his mates with "captain's calls."
"I'm not a selector but I certainly speak to the selectors a lot and express my views," said Smith yesterday.
"All this rubbish about me picking my mates is absolute garbage. I certainly don't agree with that."
Peter Nevill continues to firm for a return as Australia's keeper after Smith revealed he has spoken at length with the NSW gloveman about the body language and energy he is looking from him, presumably if selected for Australia.
That is almost proof in itself that despite his influence, Smith does not play favourites, given he last year pushed hard for Matthew Wade to replace Nevill behind the stumps.
Smith indicated that he is unsure if Matthew Renshaw is safe to open the batting in the first Ashes Test, and he emphasised that the No. 6 batting spot remains wide open heading into today's all-or-nothing Sheffield Shield round - with his own NSW versus Western Australia fixture at Hurstville Oval the main selection showdown.
"The pink ball was pretty tough work for a lot of the batters and no one really stood up," he said.
"It's still open."
Rather than wait until all three pre-Ashes Shield rounds are complete to pick their side, selectors intend to pick their team next week after two - with changes from there to only be made under exceptional circumstances.
Given last week's opening Shield round was an erratic pink ball affair, selectors will be investing enormous stock in what happens around the country today - with Hilton Cartwright the favourite for No. 6 and the likes of Glenn Maxwell on his tail.
Ex-Test quick Rodney Hogg as well as fellow former cricketers Darren Berry and Brett Geeves have openly questioned the increased role Smith plays in selection, insinuating his influence is bordering on dangerous.
The selections of Nic Maddinson, Moises Henriques, Wade and most recently Daniel Hughes' controversial promotion ahead of Ed Cowan at NSW have in various circles been fairly or unfairly pinned on Smith.
However, the skipper - who 12 months ago was virtually begged by senior figures in Australian cricket to provide more input after last year's disastrous Hobart capitulation - is not copping any implication that he is anything but impartial.
"People can say what they like. It doesn't bother me, I'll just get on with it."
Smith wrote extensively about the enormous contribution he felt Wade made to the dressing room in his recently released book, but all signs are pointing to Nevill now being on track to reclaim his place.
Wade is not dead if he can score big runs for Tasmania against Queensland, but it would appear Smith has already briefed Nevill on what he expects, should selectors decide to ultimately go back to the future.
"He (Nevill) played really well last week. He was probably a little bit stiff with his decision as well when he was batting," said Smith.
"He's in a good place. He seems to be keeping well and if he keeps doing that you never know.
"I've spoken to Pete. We had a chat and I said I probably just need a little bit more from you, and I need you to drive the boys and get the boys up and about.
"That's the important job of a wicketkeeper, to ensure the guys have the energy out in the middle and that we are doing everything we can. I've spoken to him about that.
"It's just a presence sort of thing. For a captain out in the middle, I've always got a lot on my mind. I'm doing different things so for a keeper it's about ensuring that the energy's up and if someone needs a little pick me up, go and get them, go and touch them and make sure that we're doing what we need to do. Those are important things for a wicketkeeper.
"I've said for a while that Matty (Wade) brings a lot to the team … but in the end you need guys that are performing. He's got another opportunity this week to come out … and keep putting his name up there. It's a big week this week, no doubt."