Paine to lean on Smith as Australian captain

Michael Ramsey
Paine to lean on Smith as Australian captain

Australia captain Tim Paine is keeping an open dialogue with his Test teammates amid whispers of discontent after the ball-tampering saga.

Paine, who took over as Test skipper after the Cape Town scandal, will lead Australia's 15-man squad for the one-day international series in England in June.

National selectors are yet to settle on a permanent ODI skipper but have backed Paine's steady leadership for the first assignment under new coach Justin Langer - without suspended trio Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.

Warner's role as architect of the ball-tampering plot means he will never again hold a national leadership position, and some of his teammates are reported to have said they never want to play alongside the 31-year-old again.

But Paine says he is keen to have them involved as soon as their bans are over.

With members of the Test squad on leave, he has made it a focus to maintain communication in the wake of the disastrous South African tour.

"I've certainly been trying to stay in touch with as many of the Test players as I can, whether that be via the phone or text messaging," he told RSN radio on Wednesday.

"Certainly communication is a real key in any leadership role, and in Cricket Australia in particular it can be challenging because we don't come into the club every Monday.

"It's a challenge but it's something you've just got to find the time to do and make sure you're continually touching base with players and keeping everyone on the same page."

Leaders together? Pic: Getty

Asked if he would keep in touch with Smith, Warner and Bancroft and discuss the captaincy with Smith, Paine said 'absolutely'.

"It's been a really hard time for them but certainly Steve is someone I'll be touching base with," he said.

"David, I think, is in Darwin at the moment. They're guys who've obviously had a huge role in leadership for this cricket team so I want to keep them in the loop as much as I possibly can or as much as they want to be.

"That's a discussion I'll have with them again in the next couple of weeks."

Smith and Bancroft will not be considered for leadership roles within the team for 12 months after their bans are up.

Offspinner Nathan Lyon said there would be no hard feelings towards the banned trio.

"I've got no dramas with the three of them coming back," he told reporters on Tuesday.

"They've copped their consequences and their sanctions and they're all really good mates of mine so they're more than welcome to come back."