Smith interested in Australia captaincy, Langer says position not available right now

Sydney, Mar 30 (PTI) Steve Smith is interested in becoming Australia skipper once again if the opportunity comes but head coach Justin Langer has made it clear that the position is not available right now. The 31-year-old Smith served a one-year ban from playing and was disqualified from leading Australia for two years because of his role in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal in which Australians were caught using sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball against in a Test against South Africa. “I’ve certainly had a lot of time to think about it and I guess now I’ve got to a point where if the opportunity did come up again I would be keen,” Smith told ‘News Corp’. Langer, however, said that the Australian captaincy is currently not available. “We have two very good captains and two important competitions coming up — an Ashes and a T20 World Cup. Our future looks good,” he was quoted as saying by ABC Sport. “Despite the media chatter there is no captaincy position available,” the coach added. According to the report, the board of Cricket Australia will determine whether Smith can return to captaincy at its next meeting. Smith’s future will be on the agenda as part of discussions around succession planning, it said, adding that “privately some on the board members have reservations”. The ball-tampering scandal led to a review of the team’s win-at-all-cost approach to the game. Smith returned to help Australia win the Ashes in 2019 after his ban ended but has resolutely avoided the subject of captaincy. “If it was what Cricket Australia wanted and it was what was best for the team at the time, it’s certainly something I would be interested in now, that’s for sure,” Smith said. Smith acknowledged that the scandal will forever be attached to his name and he has made peace with the damage it caused to his career and reputation. He will, however, not let it get in the way of assuming leadership again. “I’m always going to have to live with Cape Town regardless of whether I lead again or not. It’s always there,” he said. “I’ve been through all that now. Time keeps moving forward, and I’ve learnt so much the last few years about myself and grown as a human being. “I feel as though I’d be in a better place if the opportunity did come up. If it doesn’t, that’s fine as well and I’d support whoever is in charge the same way I’ve supported (Test captain) Tim (Paine) and Finchy (ODI captain Aaron Finch).” Paine has been under fire ever since Australia lost a high-stakes Test series to an injury-plagued India earlier this year. Finch, on the other hand, has turned 34.


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