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Australia trying to groom more leaders, Smith definitely in line to take charge next, says Paine

Australia trying to groom more leaders, Smith definitely in line to take charge next, says Paine
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Australia trying to groom more leaders, Smith definitely in line to take charge next, says Paine

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Australia Test captain Tim Paine has not ruled out Steve Smith’s return as the national captain, while the Tasmanian has also revealed that the team is looking to groom more leaders in the squad.

Australia Test captain Tim Paine has not ruled out Steve Smith's return as the national captain, while the Tasmanian has also revealed that the team is looking to groom more leaders in the squad.

Smith was banned for a year and sacked as Australia's captaincy for his involvement in the infamous ball-tampering scandal in the Cape Town Test in 2018. Even on Smith's return to the side, he was not banned from captaining Australia for another year. The ban was lifted in April last year but there have been no talks about having Smith back at the helm of Australian cricket.

Paine, most certainly, will lead Australia in the upcoming home Ashes later this year. However, Finch's recent drop in form in white-ball cricket and Australia's recent losses in Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) against New Zealand has made way to questions about his role and place in the team. If the national selectors take an extreme step of axing Finch, Smith could return as Australia's captain ahead of the T20 World Cup in India in October.

Finch captained Melbourne Renegades in the recently concluded Big Bash League (BBL), where his side finished at the bottom of the table. Even with that bat, he performed poorly, scoring just 179 runs in 13 innings at an average of 13.76. The Australian captain failed to register a single half-century in the tournament, where his side managed to win only four matches out of their 14 outings.

"There's no doubt he would like to do it, I think, but we'll just wait and see what happens in the next six to 12 months. One of the things we're trying to do is develop more leaders in our team and Steve Smith is certainly one of those," Paine said in an interview on SEN radio.

Before the unfortunate incident in South Africa, Smith was Australia's captain across formats. During the Cape Town Test, Australia's opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was caught tampering the ball with sandpaper live on the big screen. Smith and his deputy David Warner were slapped with a year's ban each, while Bancroft was suspended for nine months after the incident.

New Zealand are currently 2-0 up in their ongoing home T20I series against Australia. The second T20I on Thursday was a close encounter that the BlackCaps won by four runs. The third T20I is scheduled to be played on March 3 in Wellington, while the fourth and the fifth games will be played on March 5 and 7th in Auckland and Mount Maunganui respectively.

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