(Australian Associated Press)
Steve Smith is ready and willing to captain Australia again, three years on from the infamous ball-tampering scandal.
One of Australia’s greatest batsmen, Smith received a 12-month ban from international cricket following the dramatic events on the 2018 tour of South Africa.
He was also barred from holding any leadership position with the national team for two years as Tim Paine became Test skipper and Aaron Finch inherited the captaincy of Australia’s white-ball teams.
But Smith says he will happily step up to the top job in Australian cricket if selectors want him.
The 31-year-old pledged his full support for Paine and Finch, who have both been under pressure to keep their jobs during certain times this year.
“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.
“I’m always going to have to live with Cape Town regardless of whether I lead again or not. It’s always there.
“Time keeps moving forward, and I’ve learnt so much the last few years about myself and grown as a human being.”
Fast bowler Pat Cummins is Australia’s vice-captain and has declared his interest in stepping up to skipper.
But Australia have traditionally shied away from handing the captaincy to a bowler.
Ray Lindwall was the last fast bowler to lead Australia, for one Test in India in 1956.
Cricket Australia has not given an indication if it would be comfortable with Smith returning to the captaincy.
Smith was promoted to captain on a full-time basis after Michael Clarke retired following the 2015 Ashes.