Taylor backs Smith to resume captaincy
CRICKET Australia (CA) director and former Australia skipper Mark Taylor has backed Steve Smith to return to the national captaincy after the ban on his leadership ends.
Smith returned home to Australia this week from a trip to the United States, and declared he was ready to get back to business after accepting his 12-month playing suspension as a result of his part in the ball-tampering scandal.
Smith is free to return to the Australian set up for next year's World Cup and Ashes in England, but cannot fill a leadership position again until the end of March 2019.
Taylor, who was this weekend floated as a potential future chairman of the CA board, said he expected Smith to be captain again.
"I still think Steve Smith can captain Australia," Taylor told the Nine Network's Sports Sunday, when asked who the long-term captain should be. "Steve Smith to me, and everyone wants to label people, is not a cheat. Steve Smith was guilty of negligence in my opinion.
"He saw something going on and he didn't stamp it out. That's a mistake of negligence.
"He's not a cheat, he's a very good person.
"And to me that's the biggest damage that's happened over the past few months." Taylor's position on Smith could prove crucial in the future, given the CA board must rubberstamp any captaincy appointments
The issue of leadership will again come to the fore this week, with Australia's squad for the one-day series in England expected to be announced. Tim Paine, 33, has been confirmed as the ongoing leader of the Test team but it is unclear if he will lead the limited-overs team after fellow wicketkeeper Alex Carey was also handed a CA contract last month.
If Paine isn't selected, 31-year-old Aaron Finch would be the likely be the frontrunner given he has previously led the ODI and T20 sides. Meanwhile, at age 28, Smith could still has the best part of his career ahead of him for Australia.
The world's No. 1 ranked batsman is expected to ply his trade for Sydney grade club Sutherland this summer with a ban on domestic cricket still hanging over his head.
Recently-appointed Australia coach Justin Langer indicated this week he would welcome Smith, as well as fellow-banned players David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, back into the national team.
And Taylor, who led Australia in 50 Tests, was of the belief it would eventually help Smith's leadership.
"I think if he ever does come back and captain Australia it will make him a better captain," Taylor said.