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Ball-tampering row: Players who can possibly replace Steve Smith as Australia captain

With uncertainty looming over Smith's career, we present you a list of players who can replace him as captain in the Australian camp.

Written by: Akash Khanna, New Delhi [ Updated: March 27, 2018 23:37 IST ]
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES

File photographs of Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Starc, Tim Paine

The Australian cricket team immediately needs a new skipper as Steve Smith looks set to be permanently stripped of the captaincy after he admitted to ball-tampering, which Cameron Bancroft did under the guidance of "leadership group" during a Test match against South Africa in Cape Town on March 24.

If international reports are to be believed, Smith's fate is expected to be sealed on Tuesday along with vice-captain David Warner and opening batsman Bancroft. Meanwhile, Smith has already lost the captaincy job in the Indian Premier League as one of its franchises Rajasthan Royals replaced him with Ajinkya Rahane on Monday.

Cricket Australia's investigation into the plot began on Monday after two senior officials arrived in South Africa to start work uncovering the extent of the rot. So far Smith has been banned for at least one Test and is likely to face more punishment over the ball-tampering scandal.

With uncertainty looming over Smith's career, we present you a list of players who can replace him as captain in the Australian camp.

Mitchell Starc

Among the current lot, left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc seems most experienced, bankable and consistent player. The 28-year-old New South Wales speedster has claimed 32 wickets in his last 10 matches. He has represented Australia in 43 Test matches, 72 ODIs and 22 T20Is with 353 international wickets to his name so far in his exciting career.

Tim Paine

Australia wicket-keeper batsman Tim Paine, who was recalled to the Test team last November, might get to lead the side after just five months of action. Paine was named the stand-in captain on Sunday, the very next day of the ball-tampering saga that exploded out of Cape Town.

Paine has played just 54 international matches for Australia thus far and has a single ODI century to his name. 625 Test runs, 854 in ODIs and 82 T20I runs don't look too impressive to become the captain but the circumstances make him one of the most reliable cricketers in the camp, who can restore the team's lost pride.

Nathan Lyon

Another seasoned Test campaigner in the side is off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who has claimed 301 wickets for Australia in 77 Test matches. However, in the shorter format, the 30-year-old hasn't been much noteworthy as he has managed to claim just 17 wickets so far in 13 ODI matches and remains wicketless in T20Is.

Shaun Marsh

Explosive and experienced top-order batsman Shaun Marsh also stands in the queue to succeed Smith as he has got all stats in his favour. The 34-year-old southpaw has made 4196 runs in 99 international matches, from which he has nine centuries and 21 half-centuries to his name.

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