Former Australia star Shane Warne has urged Steve Smith to focus on his batting rather than becoming his country’s captain once again.
Smith stood down from the role following Australia’s ball-tampering scandal and was replaced by current skipper Tim Paine. However, his two-year ban from being able to lead the Baggy Greens has now come to an end.
Despite that, spin king Warne believes Smith should continue to leave the captaincy to someone else while he piles on the runs.
“I'm sure he could captain Australia again but if I was a selector I wouldn't [go that way],” Warne said on the Sky Cricket Podcast.
“I just want Smith to bat, I don't want him to worry about the other stuff. I just want him to bat and bat and bat. He is a leader on the field anyway and I don't think he needs to captain.”
Warne backing Paine to keep the role
Smith made 774 runs in four Ashes Tests last summer, including three centuries, while 35-year-old Paine led the side.
“I would keep Paine as captain as long as he is making runs. He has done a very good job as captain. It's a different situation if Paine doesn't make runs and is out of the side as then Smith comes back into calculations.
“But when everyone says there is no one else, it's amazing who puts their hand up and you suddenly think ‘hang on, there might be'.
“Will it be Travis Head? We know how good a player he can be, although he finds a way to get out all the time around 40 or 50 having done all the hard work. He does a great job captaining South Australia.
“Why couldn't Pat Cummins do it as a bowler? I think there will be other candidates by the time Paine decides to finish.”
Paine’s support for Smith
Meanwhile, current captain Paine says he would fully support Smith, 30, if he wanted to return to the position.
He said: “He’s captain of the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL and Welsh Fire in The Hundred; it’s something he loves doing.”
“If Steve Smith decides that's the way he wants to go then I'd fully support him in trying to do so again.”