Who could be next Aussie Test captain?

POTENTIAL CANDIDATES TO ASSUME AUSTRALIA'S TEST CAPTAINCY IF STEVE SMITH LOSES THE TOP JOB

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* Mitch Marsh. A strong candidate to step up should the Cape Town ball-tampering revelations cost Steve Smith his job. Endorsed by Simon Katich as the next in line, Marsh is in form with bat and ball and is already WA's Sheffield Shield captain. Hasn't been back in the Test squad for long though.

* Tim Paine. A steady hand with proven leadership qualities and years of experience. Potentially the safest option in the current Australian squad, although not exactly a long-term choice given he is 33.

* Pat Cummins. Looks to be a natural leader and is well-regarded within Australian cricketing circles. Has plenty of time to grow into the role at 24 but would it be too much responsibility to put on the paceman's shoulders?

OUTSIDE THE TEAM

* George Bailey. Tasmania's Sheffield Shield captain hasn't played Test cricket since the 2013-14 Ashes. But the 35-year-old has a ton of experience and could be a handy short-term leader during what looms as a turbulent chapter.

* Michael Clarke. Surely a massive long shot, having retired three years ago. But he hasn't ruled out returning, and crazier things have happened - take Bob Simpson's return to the captaincy from retirement in the 1970s at age 41.

UNLIKELY TO BE CONSIDERED

* David Warner. Australia's vice-captain was already virtually out of contention following his ugly altercation with Quinton de Kock in Durban. The Cape Town scandal is likely to be the final nail in Warner's coffin, although the extent of his involvement has not yet been made clear.

* Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon: It's yet to be verified whether the trio were part of the leadership group that gave Cameron Bancroft the green light to illegally interfere with the ball in Cape Town. But all three have previously served in the group and that alone will likely be enough to rule them out of contention.

* Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh: Both have served Australia with distinction but it's hard to see them being handed the captaincy when they are yet to lock down their spot in Australia's Test side. Khawaja, in particular, has struggled overseas.

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