Steve Smith, who was handed a two-year leadership ban by Cricket Australia in 2018 for his role in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal, is eligible to lead Australia now after his ban ended on Sunday, March 29. Australia suffered a 322-run defeat in Smith’s last match as the skipper.
In what could turn out to be a potential headache for the Australian team management, Steve Smith, on Sunday, became eligible for captaining the country again after completely serving out his two-year leadership ban. On March 28, 2018, Cricket Australia (CA) handed the right-hander a two-year ban from all kinds of leadership for his role in the ball-tampering scandal in the Cape Town Test against South Africa, which also saw him and David Warner being handed one-year suspensions from international cricket by the Australian board.
After the incident unfolded, CA announced Tasmanian Tim Paine as the full-time skipper, a move that has exceeded expectations, with the 35-year-old wicket-keeper becoming the first skipper since Steve Waugh in 2001 to retain the Ashes in England. Despite having a shaky start, initially losing to Pakistan and India, Australia have slowly but steadily grown back to their dominant selves under Paine, with them climbing to number three in the ICC Test rankings after a successful home summer.
However, with Paine indicating that he might hang his boots in the next 18 months, Cricket Australia will have a decision to make and Smith’s availability now makes it a tricky call for them. Post his one-year ban, Smith announced his return to Test cricket in style, scoring two hundreds and an Ashes-winning double century against England to help the Kangaroos retain the urn.
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