As Steve Smith's two-year leadership ban ends, current Australia Test skipper Tim Paine said that he would support the younger man's return to captaincy.
Cricket Australia had imposed a two-year captaincy ban on Steve Smith for his role in the ball-tampering incident in South Africa in 2018. The suspension ended on Sunday, 29 March, making Smith eligible for the role once again.
Paine, who will turn 36 next year, admitted that while he hasn't had a serious chat about captaincy with any of the players, he would be happy to endorse Smith.
"I haven't had that conversation with Smithy [Steve Smith], I probably will at some stage no doubt but I think that he's back captaining the [Indian Premier League's] Rajasthan Royals and captaining in [English competition] The Hundred, it's something that he loves doing.
In these testing times, we thank you for your patience and support. Here's a message from your men's skipper on behalf of Australian Cricket. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/10jlHl1wYZ— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) March 18, 2020
"If Steve Smith decides that's the way he wants to go then I'd fully support him in trying to again."
Australia's next Test assignment is scheduled for June – a two-Test series against Bangladesh. However, with the current global crisis still prevalent, Paine acknowledged that the series is likely to be postponed or cancelled.
"You don't have to be Einstein to realise that it's probably unlikely, particularly in June. Whether it's cancelled completely or it's pushed back we're not quite sure at the moment.
"I think all players would be in favour of trying to finish that anyway we can [but] if it doesn't happen, there are bigger issues in the world and missing a few Test matches isn't going to hurt us," he added.
Our team has got some goals, one of those is the ICC Test Championship final and winning that.
In case the Bangladesh series is cancelled, Australia will lose a golden opportunity to surpass India on the World Test Championship (WTC) table. Paine hopes that the rescheduled series don't put too much pressure on the players in their bid to win the WTC trophy.
"Some series have been cancelled and whether ones going forward are going to be continually cancelled or we're going to postpone them [is uncertain]. Maybe the players are going to have to go through a period where we play quite a bit of cricket if we want to complete the Test Championship as it is.
"Our team has got some goals, one of those is the ICC Test Championship final and winning that," he added. "I haven't looked any further than that."
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