Cricket Australia's Chief of Selectors Trevor Hohns refused to rule out a return to captaincy for Steve Smith if Tim Paine decides to step down after the Aus vs Ind 2020 series. Paine was named as captain of the Australian Men's Cricket Team after Smith was banned from all forms of cricket for 12 months following the infamous ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, in 2018.
Steve Smith was also hit with a two-year captaincy ban that expired in March this year. However, with Paine doing an excellent job, Smith's chance to be reappointed as skipper is unlikely to arrive until the former retires.
Trevor Hohns was asked about the topic after he revealed that Pat Cummins would serve as Australia's lone vice-captain for the Test series against India. Hohns said that Steve Smith would be 'a contender' to replace Paine, but didn't want to be drawn into the discussion.
"All I can answer to that one is that discussion hasn't been had yet," Hohns said. "He will obviously be a contender, but whether we go down that path or not depends on when that arises. Tim Paine hasn't gone yet, put it that way. So we'll worry about that in due course."
36-year-old Tim Paine has previously indicated that he would like to play in next summer's Ashes series before retiring. But a lot can happen between now and then, and a poor series against India could be the end of Paine's run in the side.
Steve Smith remains a key player for Australia and the 31-year-old is already captaining the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL. He was praised for his leadership of the national side before the controversial incident against South Africa saw him stripped of the captaincy
Steve Smith and Tim Paine included in Test squad, although first-choice opener remains undecided
The duo was named in Australia's 17-man squad for next month's Test series against India. While the issue of Steve Smith's reappointment as captain has been shelved for the time being, the Australian selectors have other pressing decisions to make.
The team is yet to announce the opening partner for David Warner in the series against India. Joe Burns was the opener last summer, but struggled for runs in the Sheffield Shield and could lose his spot to the free-scoring Will Pucovski.Published 12 Nov 2020, 19:44 IST