The Gold Coast Bulletin

Paine backs Smith return as skipper


STEVE Smith says he’s keen and Tim Paine would be happy to support Australia’s best batsman replacing him as Test captain.

Smith’s case has been steadily building as his form remains superb and the stain of South Africa washes away in the eyes of important figures in the Australian cricket fraternity and large parts of the public.

Paine has previously recognised Smith’s ambitions to return to the role he lost after the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town in 2018 but went a step further while speaking at a function for the Chappell Foundation at the SCG on Wednesday.

Paine said Smith deserved another opportunit­y in the top job.

“I think so. Obviously I don’t make that decision but the time I played with Steve as captain he was excellent. Certainly tactically he is as good as you get,” Paine said.

Paine was asked how much longer he expected to be in the role.

“At least another six Tests,” said the 36-year-old. “If I feel like the time is right and we’ve beaten the Poms 5-0, what a way to go out. But it might be a tight series and we might be chasing 300 on the last day and I’m 100 not out and hit the winning runs — then I might go again.”

 ??  ?? Steve Smith.
Steve Smith.

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