Cricket Australia’s chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns has clarified that all rumours regarding Steve Smith’s return to captaincy can be put on hold. Hohns reminded everyone that current Australia Test captain Tim Paine has not yet left the stage and hence CA hasn’t discussed the possibility yet.
It was in March 2018, during Australia’s tour of South Africa, that Paine was appointed captain of the Test side. It happened as an eventuality to the Cricket Australia’s decision of stripping the then captain Steve Smith of his leadership role due to his involvement in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal known as the ‘Sandpaper Gate’.
Steve Smith’s 2-year leadership ban ended in March
After the matter, caught on camera, was brought to the fore, Smith stepped down as captain ahead of the fourth day’s play and Paine was acting captain for the rest of the Test in Cape Town. While the ball-tampering only brought Smith a one-match suspension by the ICC, according to its rule book, Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were sent back home by CA. Following that, CA imposed a one year ban on Smith and Warner and a 6-month suspension for Bancroft.
Additionally, CA explicitly banned Smith from any leadership role with the national side for two years- that ended in match this year. Needless to say, the legendary Smith still is the most important player for the Australian Test side and a mainstay across formats. However, the Cricket Australia board is not looking to bestow him with a leadership role yet.
No leadership plans for Steve Smith: Hohns
In fact, the selectors went on to name ace fast bowler Pat Cummins as the vice-captain as a 17-man squad for the upcoming home series against India was announced on Thursday. According to CA’s chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns, Smith’s name didn’t even come up while discussing leadership roles.
“All I can answer to that one is that discussion hasn’t been had yet. That’s difficult to say, he will obviously be – probably – a contender but whether we go down that path or not depends on when that arises,” Hohns said about Smith’s leadership plan, as quoted by Independent.
“Tim Paine hasn’t gone yet, put it that way, so we’ll worry about that in due course,” Hohns added.
With India’s tour of Australia starting on November 27, Tim Paine will remain Test captain and Aaron Finch will lead the limited-overs sides.