Australia’s Test captain, Tim Paine has come out to support Steve Smith’s bid for captaincy as the two-year ban imposed on Smith came to a close on Sunday. It is notable that Steve Smith was found guilty in the infamous ‘ball-tampering’ scandal by the Australian team in South Africa in 2018. Steve Smith was the Australian skipper at that time.
After being found guilty, Cricket Australia (CA) imposed a one-year ban on Smith from playing any form of cricket. CA also imposed a 2-year captaincy ban on Smith which ended on Sunday. Paine, who will be 36 by the time the World Test Championship final in London arrives in June 2021, knows that he might not have a long stay at the helm with some real depth emerging in the Australian team.
Tim Paine has now thrown his support behind ex-captain Steve Smith taking over the leadership role if and when he decides that’s the way he wants to go.
Tim Paine Supports Steven Smith’s Bid For Captaincy
“We’ve got a number of guys to choose from. [There’s] Steve Smith who’s done it before, or players who are developing underneath like a Travis Head, Alex Carey, Marnus Labuschagne, Pat Cummins is another one. We’re starting to build some real depth so that when my time’s up we’ve got a number of options,” Paine said.
On the issue of Smith taking over the captaincy, Paine said that any such discussion is yet to be had but he realizes that it’s something the former “loves doing”.
“I haven’t had that conversation with Smithy, 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. If Steve Smith decides that’s the way he wants to go then I’d fully support him in trying to again,” Paine said.
“When I’m in the role (as captain), I plan to use him as much as I can. He was an excellent captain for me to play under. I hoped when this was all going on he would get the opportunity to lead his country again,” he added.
“He’s got one of the great cricket brains so when we’re out there, I enjoy getting his feedback and I’m sure we’ll continue to do that for the next little bit,” added Paine.
Ball-Tampering Was A Dark Chapter For Australian Cricket
The 2018 Australian ball-tampering scandal, also known as the Sandpapergate scandal, was a cricket scandal surrounding the Australian national cricket team. In March 2018, during the third Test match against South Africa at Newlands in Cape Town, Cameron Bancroft was caught by television cameras trying to rough up one side of the ball with sandpaper to make it swing in flight.
Captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were found to be involved and all three received unprecedented sanctions from Cricket Australia. Although he was found not to have been directly involved, Australia’s coach, Darren Lehmann, announced he would step down from his role following the scandal. Smith was replaced by Tim Paine as Test captain and Aaron Finch as T20I and ODI captain.