Tim Paine speaks during a press conference. File
A rising crop of young talent will compete with Steve Smith to be Australia’s next captain, current skipper Tim Paine said on Tuesday.
Smith captained the side before Paine but was slapped with a two-year leadership ban over his part in the ball tampering scandal during a Test in Cape Town in 2018.
The ban expired this week, prompting renewed speculation that Smith could soon resume the leadership duties.
While 35-year-old Paine has acknowledged he is in the twilight of his career, the wicketkeeper said he was not yet ready to walk away from the game.
He refused to lay out a timetable for his departure, particularly with the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 shutdown, saying only that coach Justin Langer and selectors knew of his plans.
“I know what I’m thinking, in terms of how far I can play on and we’re on the same page,” he told reporters via video conference.
Paine said he had not spoken with Smith about the captaincy but the 30-year-old batsman would not be the only candidate for the role.
“We’ve got a number of guys to choose from who can put their hand up,” he said.
“There’s Steve Smith, who’s done it before, or the people who are developing underneath like a Travis Head or an Alex Carey -- Marnus Labuschagne and Pat Cummins are other ones.
“We’re starting to build some real depth so that when my time’s up we’ve got a number of options.”
Paine believes Test cricketers would be prepared to play a lot of matches in a short space of time once the coronavirus crisis is over to ensure the World Test Championship can be completed as scheduled next year.
International cricket, like most other sports, has been shut down while the world battles the pandemic and Paine said it did not take “Einstein” to conclude that Australia’s tour of Bangladesh would probably not go ahead in June.
With other tours also on hold, it has been suggested that the International Cricket Council might need to push back the conclusion of the inaugural edition of the test championship.
Paine hoped it would not be pushed back too far and said he thought players would favour playing catch-up to finish it as planned with a final between the top two teams at Lord’s on June 10, 2021.
“Maybe the players are going to have to go through a period where we play quite a bit of cricket if we want to complete the test championship as it is,” the 35-year-old wicketkeeper said in a teleconference on Tuesday.
“I think the players are certainly enjoying that points system and the fact that every test match counts for something ... I think all players would be in favour of trying to finish that any way we can.”
Paine reiterated that winning the championship was a big goal for his team, who are currently second in the standings behind India. The Indians are scheduled to play four tests in Australia at the end of the year.
With Steve Smith’s two-year ban on holding a leadership role in the team - imposed after the Newlands ball-tampering scandal - having expired at the weekend, Paine was also quizzed about the batsman’s possible return to the captaincy.
Making it clear he would not be standing aside prematurely to make way for the former skipper, Paine said he would support it if that is what Smith wanted.
Former skipper Mark Taylor on Thursday backed Steve Smith to captain Australia again after his incredible Ashes exploits, as support mounts for the 30-year-old to be given a second chance.
A two-year leadership ban slapped on Steve Smith after the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa ended on Sunday, leaving the master batsman free to skipper Australia again.
On-song Virat Kohli is looking to topple Aussie run machine Steve Smith in the international batting rankings as India push for a whitewash over South Africa in the third Test starting on Saturday.
Ruturaj Gaikwad smashed his second consecutive fifty and Ravindra Jadeja hit an 11-ball 31 as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) dented Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) hopes of play-offs’ qualification with a six-wicket victory in Dubai on Thursday.
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will look to add to their winning momentum and boost their chances of making it to the play-offs when they take on Rajasthan Royals (RR) in a crucial IPL clash on Friday.
To win the targeted trophy, a team must feature in the top four of the IPL 2020 points table.
Surya Kumar Yadav hit a scintillating fifty after Jasprit Bumrah took three wickets as a ruthless Mumbai Indians defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by five wickets in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match on Wednesday.