Amid the sexting scandal, which led to Test skipper Tim Paine stepping down from his post less than three weeks before the start of the Ashes, it is learnt that Australian selectors reportedly made a secret approach to the Cricket Australia (CA) Board in October to bring Steve Smith back as skipper of the Test side.
Smith was the Aussie captain before the 2018 ball-tampering scandal — also known as the Sanpapergate scandal — blew in the face of the team and resulted in the skipper, vice-captain David Warner and Cameron Bancroft receiving unprecedented sanctions from Cricket Australia.
Smith was removed and wicketkeeper-batter Paine was made skipper in all formats before Aaron Finch took over the ODI and T20I captaincy.
However, Herald Sun has reported that the Australian selectors approached CA secretly in a bid to get Smith, who served a one-year ban following the scandal, to lead the side again.
“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.
With the unprecedented resignation by Paine in the wake of the sexting scandal, pace bowler and current vice-captain Pat Cummins has emerged as contender for the top job.
“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 said on Saturday.
The opening match of the Ashes gets underway at the Gabba in Brisbane on December 8.