Vastavam web: Steve Smith’s glorious Ashes has raised calls from some fans and pundits for his restoration to the Australia captaincy but incumbent Tim Paine has no plans to hand over the reins quietly. Australia retained the Ashes with victory in the fourth test at Old Trafford, where Smith continued his brilliant series with a double-century and a second innings 82.
Smith is banned from leadership roles until March because of his involvement in a Cape Town ball-tampering scandal last year but he is tipped by some former players and leading cricket writers to regain the captaincy from wicketkeeper Paine after his batting heroics in England.
However, Australia’s first Ashes retention on English soil since 2001 was a triumph for Paine, who was credited for helping guide the side out of the dark days that followed the ball-tampering scandal.
He said he would continue to lead Australia so long as he was enjoying the job and selectors were happy with his work. “I constantly talk to (coach) Justin Langer and (selector) Trevor Hohns about what might happen or how long I might go for, but I think we’re all comfortable and we’re all on the same page so it’s all good.”
The 34-year-old suffered a string of finger injuries that interrupted his test career for seven years and has limited him to 25 tests to date. “The positive of that now is that physically I’m in really good condition for my age, and I feel really good after test matches physically. “Mentally, it’s a different story but it only takes a day to recover from that. While I keep enjoying it, I’ll keep doing it.”
One of the perks of being an Ashes-winning captain is having friends in high places, and Paine said he now had a direct line to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.