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Steve Smith should captain Australia if he wants to, says Usman Khawaja

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Australia batsman Usman Khawaja has expressed that there is absolutely no reason why Steve Smith, ranked 2nd in the ICC Men's Test batsmen rankings, shouldn't be named the captain of the white-ball format once Tim Paine's time as the skipper is over.

Smith successfully led Australia for almost three years before being stripped off from his role in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal against South Africa in 2018. The batsman was also banned from any leadership roles for two years. While Smith captained team Rajasthan in the Indian T20 League 2020 after his ban expired in March last year, he is yet to be considered for the role on the international circuit.

"If Steve Smith wants to captain Australia, I think he should captain Australia," Queensland captain Khawaja told reporters in Brisbane on Friday.

"He's our number one batsman; he's done it before, he's paid for his mistakes, there's no reason why he shouldn't be in line for the captaincy if wants to do it."

Paine took over Australia's leadership role following the scandal in South Africa and guided his team to the Ashes victory over England in 2019. However, his performance as a captain came under the scanner during India's tour of Australia, where the host lost to the visitors 2-1 in the Test series when India had lost many of their starting players due to injury. Paine himself has said that Steve would love to take over once again and admitted that this is indeed a long process.

"There's no doubt he would like to do it, I think, but we'll just wait and see what happens in the next six to 12 months," he told SEN radio. "One of the things we're trying to do is develop more leaders in our team, and Steve Smith is certainly one of those."

As far as Steve Smith is concerned, he was adjudged with the Allan Border Medal last month, and he said that captaining Australia is "not on [his] radar" at the moment.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Peter Parks

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