Australia captain Steve Smith strongly hit back at suggestions he is picking his mates ahead of the Ashes, labelling the claims as "absolute garbage." Smith has come in for criticism after dropping veteran batsman Ed Cowan in favour of Daniel Hughes in New South Wales' opening Sheffield Shield game.


The call to elevate Hughes has raised questions over Smith's influence with national team selection but the Australia skipper dismissed claims of "captain's calls." "I'm not a selector, but I certainly speak to the selectors a lot and express my views," Smith said on Friday.

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"All this rubbish about me picking my mates, it's absolute garbage. I certainly don't agree with that."

Smith added: "People can say what they like. I'll read it, but it doesn't bother me. I'll just get on with it."

The opening Test of the Ashes series against England gets underway in Brisbane on November 23.