Australia batsman Steve Smith says he’s interested in captaining his country again, three years after ‘Sandpaper-gate’ which left him dumped and in tears.
The career of Smith, 31, was left in tatters as the details emerged from the Cape Town Test in 2018 as players hatched a plan to illegally use sandpaper to get the ball to reverse swing under the then-captain.
Smith was suspended by Cricket Australia for 12 months and banished from the captaincy, but three years on and with Tim Paine in the twilight of his Test career, the calls are growing for a return to leadership for the star batsman.
The right-handed batsman, who has scored 27 Test centuries in 77 matches, admitted to News Corp he was interested.
“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.
“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.”
Paine has led the Australian Test team since the South Africa incident and, alongside coach Justin Langer, has restored some external respect to the team, which lost the public’s trust and goodwill.
But Paine is now 36 and while his glovework is still very good, he’s never been able to provide the top level batting support as a number seven, leading to expectations he’ll finish up in the next 12 months.
“I’m always going to have to live with Cape Town regardless of whether I lead again or not. It’s always there,” Smith said.
“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 Tim and Finchy. I haven’t always felt like I wanted to do it again. That’s only come in the last little bit.”