Steve Smith is one of candidates for Test captaincy after selectors approach CA

Tim Paine stepped down from the post on Friday after being investigated by Cricket Australia (CA) for sending explicit messages to a female co-worker in 2017.

Batting mainstay Steve Smith on Saturday emerged as one of the candidates for Australian Test captaincy after the selectors had reportedly approached the country’s cricket board with a proposal to hand over the reins to the former skipper.

Though vice-captain Pat Cummins remains the frontrunner for the top job, Smith is also in the reckoning, the country’s cricket board said following the resignation of Tim Paine from the top job.

Paine stepped down from the post on Friday after being investigated by Cricket Australia (CA) for sending explicit messages to a female co-worker in 2017. Paine succeeded Smith as captain in 2018 after the batter was banned from international cricket for 12 months and suspended from leadership roles for two years for his role in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.

“There are a range of candidates who are available for that role, Steve Smith is one of the candidates that is available for the role,” said CA chairman Richard Freudenstein during a virtual press conference following Paine’s resignation.

Meanwhile, there are also speculations that the senior national team selectors are in favour of appointing Smith as skipper. “It’s understood the selectors were interested in the idea of Smith being able to captain should an injury or similar occur to Tim Paine, with the proposal given the board’s approval,” sen.com.au ran a story quoting Herald Sun.

The top contender though, remains pace spearhead Cummins. “However, Smith could be appointed as vice-captain to support Cummins, who would be the first fast bowler to captain Australia since 1956, when Ray Lindwall held the role for a solitary Test.

“Smith was barred from holding a leadership position within the team for two years after the events of Cape Town, with that ban elapsing over a year ago,” sen.com.au added on Saturday, a day after the Australian cricket was rocked by the Tim Paine “sexting” scandal.

The messages date back to 2017, months before Paine was recalled to the Test team after a seven-year absence and a joint Cricket Australia and Cricket Tasmania investigation cleared him at the time. The development came weeks ahead of the five-Test Ashes series against traditional rivals England. The first Test begins in Brisbane on December 8.

Australia’s former chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns had said in November that Smith would probably be a contender to succeed Paine.

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