Smith helping Paine no issue for Ponting

Australia have fought back in the first Ashes Test against England at Edgbaston.
Australia have fought back in the first Ashes Test against England at Edgbaston.

Ricky Ponting has dismissed criticism of the on-field influence of Steve Smith during the first Ashes Test in Edgbaston, saying Tim Paine would be "silly" not utilise the former skipper's experience.

Smith has held animated discussions with spin bowler Nathan Lyon and given direction to fielders during his first Test back from the 12-month ban for his role in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year.

Some have argued Smith - who is banned from holding a formal leadership role until March 2020 - is undermining Paine's position but ex-skipper Ponting says he has no issue with the situation.

"I read a bit of that stuff this morning, with people online going on about the fact he shouldn't be doing it because he's not captain," Ponting told cricket.com.au.

"That's an absolute load of rubbish.

"He's not captain, he's not tossing the coin and he's not picking the team. But an experienced guy like him with a cricket brain that he's got, Tim would be silly to not try and tap into that and not try to use him when he can."

Smith himself said he has a responsibility as a senior player to offer his opinion on the field following his century on the opening's day play.

Ponting said he would have no issue with Smith being restored to the captaincy when his leadership ban expires next year.

"If the hierarchy at Cricket Australia have an issue with him ever being captain again, they would have given him a life ban, wouldn't they?

"By banning him for just an extra 12 months, they think it's okay for him to come back. So if the authorities think it's okay, I'm happy with it as well."

Australian Associated Press