Australia Test captain Tim Paine has suggested he would support the captaincy being handed back to Steve Smith, who was involved in ‘sandpapergate’ in South Africa in 2018.
Paine replaced Smith as the Baggy Greens’ red-ball skipper, following the infamous ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town.
Smith was removed from his duties, while he served a 12-month ban in a period where Australian cricket struggled in all formats.
Paine, however, did a good job at getting the team back together and led them to great success in the process, regaining the Ashes in England in 2019.
But, after falling to defeat by India in Australia over the past summer, the 36-year-old Paine’s credentials have come into question.
‘Obviously, I don’t make that decision but the time I played with Steve as captain he was excellent. Certainly tactically he is as good as you get,’ Paine told news.com.au.
‘He’s probably a bit like me when I was at the start of my captaincy journey in Tasmania – he was thrown into a very big role at a very, very young age and he probably wasn’t quite ready for it.
‘But by the time I came in he was growing into that role and getting better and better. Then obviously [in] South Africa events happened and he’s not doing it anymore. But, yeah, I would support him getting that job again.’
England are set to travel down under at the end of the year for another enthralling battle of the Ashes – a place where Joe Root’s men haven’t had a great deal of success over the years of rivalry.
Winning the Ashes on home soil seems like the perfect opportunity for Paine to step down as captain.
‘If I feel like the time is right and we’ve beaten the Poms 5-0, what a way to go out. But it might be a tight series and we might be chasing 300 on the last day and I’m 100 not out and hit the winning runs – and then I might go again,’ the wicketkeeper added.