Ashes 2019: Steve Smith says Australia captaincy is 'not on my radar'

After starring with the bat again versus England in the first Ashes Test, Steve Smith said becoming Australia captain again is not a target.

Ashes 2019: Steve Smith says Australia captaincy is 'not on my radar'

Steve Smith insists regaining the Australia captaincy is "not on my radar" after he completed centuries in both innings of the opening Ashes Test against England.

Cricket Australia stripped Smith of the captaincy and banned the batsman for 12 months for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal that rocked cricket.

But Smith has not missed a step during his first Test back, rescuing Australia's first innings with a sublime 144 that steered the visitor to 284 from 122-8.

He was at it again at Edgbaston on Sunday, racking up 142 as Australia posted 487-7 declared to put the tourist in position for a victory that had seemed so unlikely a couple of days ago, with England needing to bat out the final day having been set 398 to win.

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However, Smith has no designs on taking back the captaincy from Tim Paine and insists his immediate goal is just to help the team through his performances with the bat.

"It's certainly not on my radar at the moment [regaining the captaincy]," he told a news conference.

"It's just about going out there and doing my job as a batsman and scoring runs. 

"Of course I'm experienced now and able to help Tim [Paine] in any way that I can and he knows I'm there to help him and give him some suggestions and things like that as much as I can.

"If I see something I'll always go to him and try and help for the betterment of the team."

‘Incredibly special’

“I’ve never doubted my ability,” Smith added.

“But, it’s kind of a dream comeback in a way. To be able to score two hundreds in a match, in the first Ashes match, it’s something I have never done in any form of cricket before in my life. It’s incredibly special.”

He added: “It feels like Christmas morning every morning getting to come and do this.”

Sunday was also memorable for Wade, once Australia’s wicketkeeper but now selected as a specialist batsman.

Wade, whose hundred was his first in Ashes cricket, had the best view at a packed Edgbaston while helping Smith add 126 for the fifth wicket, but said batting with him could be difficult.

“It’s daunting to be honest,” he explained. “Sometimes he makes it look way too easy and it hurts.

“He said to me the other day at breakfast he’d never scored a hundred in both innings of a Test match.

“When he said that, I thought we were going to be in for something special.”

England batting coach Graham Thorpe praised Smith’s two innings by saying: “In many ways you have to admire it and appreciate you are watching someone who is a fantastic player.”

England was without James Anderson for the whole of Australia’s second innings after its all-time leading Test wicket-taker remained sidelined with a calf injury that meant he bowled just four overs in the match.

The side will resume Monday on 13-0, with Rory Burns, fresh from his maiden Test century in the first innings, and Jason Roy at the crease.

Only one of England’s previous 33 home Tests has ended in a draw but Thorpe backed his side to bat out the day.

“We have got the character and the challenge is ahead of our guys tomorrow,” he said. “It will not be easy but this is Test cricket.”

(With inputs from PTI and Opta)