Tim Paine expects Warner and Smith to bolster the batting line-up.
Tim Paine expects Warner and Smith to bolster the batting line-up.

Smith to take back captaincy, says Aussie legend

CHAMPION Aussie wicketkeeper Ian Healy believes Steve Smith will be quickly reinstalled as Test captain once his leadership ban is up in 2020.

Smith, currently nearing the final stages of his year-long playing ban resulting from the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal which rocked Australian cricket, will be eligible to return to the team from the end of March and is expected to be parachuted straight back in to add some star quality to a brittle batting line-up.

 

But while Smith will be fast-tracked back into the team in a bid to strengthen Australia's World Cup defence and hopes of securing a first Ashes victory in England since 2001, he won't return as skipper.

That honour, in the Test format, will still be held by Tim Paine who is currently juggling the captaincy, wicketkeeping duties and the vital role of dogged lower-order batsman.

Healy admits he has concerns about Paine carrying such a heavy workload and responsibility, but believes the 34-year-old is simply warming the chair for Smith.

"I do (have concerns) but I don't think it's going to be an issue for Painey because he's not going to have to do it for long," Healy said.

"A couple of years and that'll be enough - I'm barely saying that now, already.

"That'll be enough but that's probably all he'll have anyway.

"It's been a wonderful opportunity for him and we've been very lucky to have had him in the position where he was that disaster struck, of Cape Town, and he's taken over extremely well - very high energy stuff.

"He'll be good enough because he's hungry enough having been disadvantaged with that broken finger for 3-5 years - he'll lap it up and he'll be good at it and Steve Smith will come in in a couple of year's time and be captain again."

There had been some debate about whether Smith could ever resume a leadership role within Australian cricket, but the dearth of leaders in an inexperienced Test team has led to renewed debate about the team's captaincy.

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