Australia test captain Tim Paine has not ruled out Steve Smith's return to the top job in a recent interview and he also revealed that the national team is looking to groom more leaders in the squad.
Steve Smith was banned for a year by Cricket Australia and stripped off captaincy for another year after his return to international cricket for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in the Cape Town Test in 2018.
While Australia are most certainly going to be led by Paine in the Ashes this year, Aaron Finch's slump in form in white-ball cricket and Australia's recent losses in the T20 series in New Zealand has got the cricket fraternity talking his leadership and role in the team. That is where Smith could return as the skipper if the selectors decide to drop the axe on Finch.
Finch is under huge pressure to produce a score after bringing his poor form from the Big Bash League into the Twenty20 series.
“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 on SEN radio.
Smith was the captain in all three formats for Australia before the unfortunate Test match in which Cameron Bancroft was caught tampering the ball with sandpaper. Smith and vice-captain David Warner were handed one-year bans while Bancroft was suspended for 9 months after the incident.
Smith and Warner returned to international cricket during the ICC World Cup in England in 2019.
Smith recently pulled out of New South Wales' ongoing Sheffield Shield fixture against Victoria owing to an elbow injury that he'd sustained during the four-Test series against India at home last month.
"I have had some pain in my elbow that's gradually worsened since the Test against India at the SCG and it requires some rest and rehab.
"I am hoping I will be right to travel with the Blues to Adelaide for our games down there next week but we will have to see how it responds to treatment," Smith said.