Former skipper Mark Taylor expects Steve Smith to lead Australia once again in the future despite his tainted history.
Smith was stripped of his Australia captaincy and handed a one-year suspension from international and domestic cricket for his role in the infamous ball-tampering saga in South Africa last year. The top-order batsman was handed a further one-year suspension from all leadership positions as well and will only become eligible for Australia captaincy once again in March next year.
The right-hander has since completed a sensational return to Test cricket with a staggering 671 runs in just five innings in the ongoing Ashes to lead Australia’s charge in England. Taylor, who was part of the panel to recommend Smith’s quantum of punishment last year, feels that the batsman will be a much stronger leader if given another chance.
“I believe Smith will captain Australia again,” the former Australia captain wrote in a column for the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I was on the Cricket Australia board that determined the penalties for Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft over the events of Cape Town and have no doubt he will be a better leader next time around because of the very harsh lessons he learnt.”
Australia are currently being led by Tim Paine who stands on the verge of becoming the first visiting skipper since Steve Waugh in 2001 to win an Ashes series on English soil. Paine was elevated to the Australia captaincy in the most unexpected of manners following the ball-tampering fall out at Cape Town last year.
Taylor expects Smith to be in the running to become the next Australia captain once 34-year-old Paine hangs up his boots.
“To me it’s not a matter of whether he (Smith) becomes captain again on April 1. It doesn’t have to happen that quickly,” he said.
“But I’d like to think when Paine is finished as Test captain – whether that’s in six months’ time or two or three years – he would be a candidate to lead the side again.”
Smith and Paine will be in action for Australia on Thursday when the fifth and final Ashes Test against England gets underway at the Oval.
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