Five players who could succeed Smith as Australia cricket captain

Tim Paine, Steve Smith, Australia, Michael Clarke, Mitchell Marsh
Tim Paine - AFP

SYDNEY: With Steve Smith banned for at least one Test and likely to face more punishment over the ball-tampering scandal, we look at who could become Australia’s next cricket captain:

– Tim Paine –

Was seen as a surprise choice when drafted in to replace Smith when he stood down as skipper for the remainder of the third Test in Cape Town after the ball-tampering scandal erupted. The 33-year-old wicket-keeper had been a shock selection for the recent Ashes series against England after six years in the wilderness. But as an elder-statesman with a calm head, he could get the nod.

– Mitchell Marsh –

The 26-year-old all-rounder has been in good form with bat and ball and could be a solid long-term pick. After a period of mediocre performances, he has now established himself as a near-permanent fixture in the team. The son of former national coach Geoff, he has honed his leadership skills as skipper of Western Australia.

– Usman Khawaja –

An outsider, but the top-order batsman has plenty of experience and patience. Born in Pakistan, the 31-year-old has displayed composure at difficult times and shown his credentials as captain during a stint in charge at Queensland and on Australia A tour of India in 2015.

– Pat Cummins –

The tearaway paceman is widely regarded and has youth on his side at age 24. It is highly unusual to have a fast bowler as captain and the burden may be too much, but if cricket chiefs are looking for a fresh start, he could be the man to take them forward. Was tipped earlier this year by Michael Clarke as a captain-in-waiting.

– Michael Clarke –

Clarke was Smith’s predecessor, retiring in 2015 after playing 115 Tests. Now a TV commentator, he suggested at the weekend he was open to a return. “If I was asked by the right people, then I would think about my answer,” the 36-year-old told Australia’s Nine Network, although he is seen as a real wildcard.