The biggest question looming over Cricket Australia after the resignation of Tim Paine is who will replace the 36-year-old as the country's new Test captain. Tim Paine announced, on Friday, that he will no longer lead the Australian red-ball side following revelations of his private text messages involving a former Cricket Tasmania employee.
Paine addressed a press conference from Hobart, where he explained his decision to step down as Australia's Test captain. Paine said nearly four years ago he was involved in a sexting scandal, the disturbing content of which was going to be made public and hence his decision to resign.
Steve Smith, who was the Australian Test captain a few years ago, can take over as the new Test captain. The main question that remains, however, is whether Cricket Australia would re-appoint Smith as captain after he was fired from the post in 2018. Following an incident of ball-tampering in South Africa in 2018, Smith was sacked as Australia's full-time captain in all three formats. Smith, along with David Warner, the Australian team's vice-captain at the time, were caught tampering with the ball and had to step down from their respective roles to make place for Tim Paine and Aaron Finch.
It will be intriguing to watch if Cricket Australia's administrators consider Smith for the captaincy again. Australia is preparing for a five-match Test series against England, their arch-rivals. Early December will see the start of the high-octane Ashes series. Cricket Australia will face a difficult time in finding a replacement for Paine by then, leaving them with little alternative except to re-appoint Smith. Pat Cummins, Marnus Labuschagne, and Usman Khawaja are the other options for Cricket Australia, but none of them have the experience to lead the country in a high-pressure series like the Ashes.
Smith is regarded as one of the best batters of the current generation, especially in Test cricket. The right-handed unorthodox cricketer has played 77 Tests for Australia and has scored 7,540 runs at an average of 61.80. Smith has 27 centuries and 31 half-centuries in the longest format of the game with a top score of 239 runs.
Smith has captained Australia in 34 Test matches, 18 of which he has won, 10 of which he has lost, and six of which ended in a draw. As captain of the Australian Test team, Smith has a victory record of 52.94%.