Steve Smith available to captain Australia again as two-year leadership ban ends

Could Steve Smith ever captain Australia again? That is a question that took on new relevance on Sunday after Smith's two-year leadership ban ended.

Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were suspended from cricket after a ball-tampering scandal on the 2018 tour of South Africa.

A scheme was cooked up to use sandpaper to doctor the ball, with Smith being aware of the plan but doing nothing to prevent it going ahead.

Disgraced by the incident, Smith was served with a one-year playing ban that began on March 29, 2018, with a further 12-month suspension from leading Australia in any format of the game.

That period has now expired, which could open the door for Smith to return to the captaincy, although Tim Paine is the current Test skipper and Aaron Finch has the limited-overs job locked down.

Paine, 35, has hinted he may be nearing the end of his Test career, while 30-year-old Smith previously flourished in the role and has shone as a batsman since returning to the team.

Smith has attempted to deflect questions about returning to his former job as Australia's Test leader.

Speaking in November 2019, he said: "My record probably is better when I'm captain than when I'm not. That sort of pressure doesn't really bother me. But I'm not thinking about captaincy or anything at this point in time.

"I'm really comfortable where I’m at and I’m enjoying what I’m doing."