SYDNEY: Steve Smith’s ban on leading Australia ends in March but the star batsman may not want the Test captaincy back, coach Justin Langer says. Smith skippered the team until he was suspended for 12 months over a brazen attempt to alter the ball with sandpaper under his watch in Cape Town last year. Part of his punishment included a further year-long exile from any leadership role. Calls have grown for Smith to take over from Tim Paine when the ban is lifted since his incredible batting performances helped Australia retain the Ashes against England.
But Langer said it was not a simple decision, with Smith admitting his exploits — 774 runs in just seven innings – left him mentally and physically shattered. “I’ve built a good relationship with Steve over the last 18 months, and it (the captaincy) is going to come down to honest conversations,” the coach told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Saturday. “You can see how exhausted he was from the effort he put into his batting (during the Ashes), and whether he wants the burden of captaincy as well is something we’ll have to work out over time. “I’ll be one of the selectors, and I think we’ll just work out what’s best.” Paine, who will be 35 in December, will almost certainly retain the role for the home summer Test series against Pakistan and New Zealand, despite occasional criticism of his batting and captaincy during the Ashes.