Australia skipper Steve Smith accused of favouritism by former fast bowler Rodney Hogg

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Steve Smith has come under fire following the series loss to India.

Former Australia cricketer Rodney Hogg has come out strongly against skipper Steve Smith following his side’s meek surrender of the ODI series against India with two games still to play.

The Aussie alleged that the captain has been playing his personal ‘mates’ in the squad which had led to the dismal performance of the one-day unit in the past few months.

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The defending World Champions have been on a horrendous run as of late in overseas matches with their last away victory coming against Ireland on September 27, 2016.

Since then Australia have been blanked 5-0 at South Africa and 2-0 against arch-rivals New Zealand before their 3-0 capitulation against India.

“They’re picking their mates. Smith shouldn’t be a selector. (Ashton) Agar’s been pushed through and Hilton Cartwright’s still there. We saw Nic Maddinson get selected, he’s one of Steve Smith’s mates,” Hogg was quoted as saying by Australia publication news.com.au.

“You can’t pick bloody mates! We’ve got to get fair dinkum. We’re really off the ball a bit here … I think the captain’s getting his own way,” he added.

It seems pressure is increasing on Smith lately with former Australia skipper Michael Clarke questioning his aptitude to lead the 50-overs side.

Hogg accused Smith of fast-tracking Ashton Agar's route to the squad.

Hogg accused Smith of fast-tracking Ashton Agar’s route to the squad.

“Smith’s batting has been outstanding for a long time but his captaincy is challenged now. He needs to define the way for his team to have success,” Clarke had said before the third ODI at Kolkata which the visitors would go on to lose by 50 runs.

Smith had hit back on Clarke’s claims saying that his captaincy was under no threat.

“I don’t think I am in a bad place with my captaincy. Obviously, results haven’t been the way we would have liked for a little while and that’s something we are trying to rectify.

“The guys are working hard and are ensuring that the job is done out there. It was a disappointing start to series the other day but we have got another game tomorrow to try and turn the game around,” he had said before the start of the Kolkata ODI.

The two sides will lock horns once again in the fourth game of the five-match series at the M. Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday.

Hogg played 38 Tests and 71 ODIs for Australia.

Hogg played 38 Tests and 71 ODIs for Australia.

If Smith expects that the host will let their foot off the gas after taking an unassailable lead in the series, he will be in for a rude awakening.

“Credit to the whole squad for the series win, but the journey stops only after the final game,” his opposite counterpart Virat Kohli had said after the Kolkata win.

“We may give opportunities for people from now, but all 15 guys know that we got to be ruthless once we step onto the field,” he added.

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