Steve Smith, Australia’s former skipper, could return to once again lead the national team. Smith was sacked as Australian captain back in 2018 and he was also banned for one year from international cricket for his role in the ball-tampering saga against South Africa. Smith was banned for two years from any leadership role in Australian cricket and thus he was eligible to once again lead the national team back in May 2020.

Meanwhile, Tim Paine was handed over the Test captaincy whereas Aaron Finch was given the onus for limited-overs leadership and as both of them did a decent job for Australia, Cricket Australia decided to stick with them despite Smith completing his ban period.

On the other hand, Dr Simon Langstaff, whose investigation led to Smith being banned for a year and suspended from leadership roles until May 2020, has said he has no objections with Smith leading the side.

‘I’ve always believed that if people have done the wrong thing, have paid a particular penalty and they show that they have been open in their acceptance of wrongdoing and genuinely remorseful, then they should not be excluded for all opportunities into the future, and I would apply that to Steven Smith,’ Longstaff, head of the Ethics Centre, said in an interview with The Age newspaper.

Smith is currently plying his trade for Delhi Capitals in the ongoing Indian Premier League. Smith had earlier stated that he is keen to lead Australia again.

Meanwhile, Australia’s current Test captain Tim Paine will soon turn 37 and he hasn’t been able to consistently deliver with the bat. Paine’s captaincy had also come under scrutiny as he has lost two home series against India in 2018-19 and 2020-21. Thus, a lot of cricket boffins raised questions about Paine’s leadership.

Apart from Paine and Smith, Australia also has the option of giving the captaincy baton to their vice-captain Pat Cummins, who has done a fine job in the red-ball format. Cummins is currently the number one fast bowler in the Test format.

Meanwhile, the schedule for the Ashes that will conclude in Perth next January will be confirmed by Cricket Australia on May 12-13.