Steve Smith is serving a one-year ban.
Steve Smith is serving a one-year ban.

AB: Smith best captain choice when he returns

TEST great Allan Border says Tim Paine faces a herculean task as captain-keeper, with Steve Smith the logical leader after serving an 'over-the-top' ball-tampering sentence.

Border rescued Australian cricket from its 1980s nadir following Kim Hughes' emotional resignation.

Paine is now Australia's accidental Test skipper following 12-month ball-tampering bans issued to Smith, his deputy David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.

Paine has to skipper a vulnerable Australian one-day squad next month that will be made to 'squirm' by unforgiving English audiences but the Tasmanian's workload is a genuine concern, says Border.

"That is the big issue for me. I just know what it is like, it is incredible how you ride every ball compared to when you are just one of the boys," Border said.

"He will do a great job but it is a tough one. You are trying to work out how to get blokes out, manage the bowling group, maintain a high level of wicketkeeping and throwing in the captaincy is the only question mark for me."

Border notes players have long picked at the quarter seam or used cream, sun balm and lollies to influence the ball.

Allan Border has backed Steve Smith to return to the captain's role.
Allan Border has backed Steve Smith to return to the captain's role.

The actions of Smith, Warner and Bancroft in Cape Town were 'disappointing' but the social media-led recriminations and hounding of the trio got out of control.

"Probably the punishment was a little over the top as far as the crime. The outpouring was a little crazy," Border said.

Smith is a walk-up start to resume his journey as Australia's 45th skipper with no apparent rivals and Paine in the twilight of his career.

Keeper Alex Carey has rocketed into the frame as new Twenty20 vice-captain but remains inexperienced and faces similar workload issues as Paine. Aaron Finch is the lead candidate to command the one-day side in the long term.

Border has questioned the workload of new skipper Tim Paine. Picture: Mathew Farrell
Border has questioned the workload of new skipper Tim Paine. Picture: Mathew Farrell

"In 12 months he is back in the fold and won't make the same mistakes. He might be a far better captain as a result," Border said of Smith.

"He has made a big error of judgment in South Africa. He is only young, we are going to miss Smith and Warner, you look at the stats, with hundreds scored, they have been an integral part of our success over the past five years."

New coach Justin Langer this week revealed he would have tampered with the ball on the order of the first skipper he held in awe; Border.

The respect is mutual from Border, who led Australia in 93 Tests from 1984-94.

"I have a lot of time for Justin, his playing perspective, cricket smarts. It is a really good appointment," Border said.

"A bit more of a hard-nosed character than Darren Lehmann but he does have a sense of fun."

Australia's first mission under Langer is the five-match one-day series against England next month which doubles as a key World Cup dress rehearsal said Border.



Talented jazz pianist returns to Studio 188

premium_icon Talented jazz pianist returns to Studio 188

Meg began playing the piano when she was "practically a baby”

Thieves steal CCTV footage, but caught on dashcam

premium_icon Thieves steal CCTV footage, but caught on dashcam

Dashcam footage may help police catch the culprit

GREAT VALUE: $1 a week for local news and great rewards

GREAT VALUE: $1 a week for local news and great rewards

Australia's best value news subscription deal is even better