Tim Paine. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS). Image Source: IANS News

Sydney, May 13 : Australia skipper Tim Paine has backed Steve Smith to return at helm once he quits captaincy of the national team.

The 36-year-old Paine, who has lost two home series against India, may not be able to continue for long and Australia are looking to zero in on his replacement.

One of the choices available to the selectors is Steve Smith, who was banned from leadership role for two years following ball tampering scandal in South Africa in March, 2018. The ban ended in March 2020.

Asked if Smith would be an option, Paine said, "I think so. Obviously, I don't make that decision but the time I played with Steve as captain he was excellent.

"Certainly tactically he is as good as you get," he was quoted as saying by News Corp media.

"Then obviously South Africa events happened and he's not doing it anymore. But, yeah, I would support him getting that job again." Paine said he has no plans to relinquish captaincy. But may quit if Australia dominate England during Ashes later this year.

"If I feel like the time is right and we've beaten the 'Poms' 5-0, what a way to go out," he said.

"But it might be a tight series and we might be chasing 300 on the last day and I'm 100 not out and hit the winning runs - and then I might go again."

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