Could Smith take the leadership role again one day? Photo by Oli Scarff/AFP.
Could Smith take the leadership role again one day? Photo by Oli Scarff/AFP.

Paine backs Smith to captain Australia once again

TIM Paine says he hopes Steve Smith does captain Australia again one day, and he might just be there behind the microphone to call the moment.

Channel 7 will on Tuesday announce Paine as part of their Big Bash League commentary team for the coming summer, making the Tasmanian part of a rare club to move into TV analysis while still playing.

Paine understands the cut and thrust of the media landscape and insists he is not frustrated or stressed by the most constant commentary theme of late; that polarising debate centring on whether Smith will - or in fact should - ascend to the Test captaincy again.

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Quitting the Big Bash playing ranks to focus 100 per cent on Test cricket is proof of Paine's determination to extend his career as national skipper as long as possible, and he will instead commentate 10 BBL matches in January right up to the final.

But rather than be sensitive over critics questioning his own long-term future beyond the expiry of Smith's leadership ban in April, Paine is part of the camp hoping his predecessor will one day rise to lead his country once more.

"I've said to a few people before, at the moment I'm in a great position of being the Australian wicketkeeper and the Australian captain and unfortunately both of those roles are two of the most scrutinised roles in cricket," Paine said, fresh from a timely first-class hundred for Tasmania.

"It's part and parcel of having them both roles that there's always going to be speculation coming.

"I'm enjoying having the job at the moment … and I certainly hope Steve Smith does captain Australia again one day, and if he does, I'll be fully supportive of it."

Paine took over as captain after Smith’s suspension. Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.
Paine took over as captain after Smith’s suspension. Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.

Paine believes his experience as a peer of the current BBL players will help him provide unique insight.

Channel 7 head of cricket Chris Jones believes Paine has a sharp mind capable of telling audiences "not what's happening but what's about to happen."

Michael Clarke commentated on Australian matches during the 2014-15 summer for Channel 9 while injured as skipper.

Paine, who turns 35 in December, sees commentary as a post-cricket career.

"Early in my career I was actually quite camera shy and didn't like getting in front and did everything I could to get out of it," he said.

"But the captain's role has exposed me to a lot and the last six months in particular I've really started to enjoy it.

"I'm looking forward to pursuing it and seeing where it goes - I've played in eight of the nine Big Bashes and I've got some inside information on a lot of the players that I'd like to think I can bring some insight."

Paine was on the field when Australian teammate Mitchell Marsh had his moment of madness for WA on Sunday, suffering a suspected broken hand punching a dressing room wall.

Marsh underwent scans yesterday with WA expecting some damage to be confirmed, but Paine hopes the big all-rounder will still have a big impact for Australia this summer.

"You can see how much it means to him and he's been working his backside off," said Paine.

"He was disappointed he missed an opportunity (on Sunday) to go quite big and really put his name up in lights."

News Corp Australia


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