Smith open to leading Australia again if given a chance

Smith was suspended from international cricket for 12 months and banned from leadership roles for two years for his role in the "sandpaper-gate" scandal in Cape Town in March, 2018.

Smith last captained Australia during the infamous Cape Town Test of 2018 against South Africa- GETTY IMAGES

Three years after his ignominious exit as Australia's captain in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal, Steve Smith said he was keen and ready to lead the national side again if an opportunity came his way.

"I've certainly had a lot of time to think about it and I guess now I've got to a point where if the opportunity did come up again, I would be keen," Smith told News Corp.

"If it was what Cricket Australia wanted and it was what was best for the team at the time, it's certainly something I would be interested in now, that's for sure," he added.

Smith was suspended from international cricket for 12 months and banned from leadership roles for two years for his role in the "sandpaper-gate" scandal in Cape Town in March, 2018.

The scandal centred around Smith, his deputy David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, who was caught on camera attempting to change the condition of the ball using sandpaper, and it plunged Australian cricket into crisis.

"I'm always going to have to live with Cape Town regardless of whether I lead again or not. It's always there. I've been through all that now," Smith said.

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Post that incident, Tim Paine took over the reins of Australia's test side while Aaron Finch was handed the captaincy of the white-ball formats.

I have grown as a human being in the last few years: Smith

Paine has since led Australia's test side with distinction, but with the wicketkeeper-batsman turning 37 by the time he captains the hosts in the Ashes series against England at the end of 2021, a clear succession plan would be required.

Few players have better credentials to succeed Paine than Smith but it is fast bowler Pat Cummins, who has been nurtured in the past as Australia's vice-captain.

Smith admitted that he was in a better place now for a leadership role, but was willing to assist anyone who takes over the reigns in future.

"Time keeps moving forward, and I've learnt so much the last few years about myself and grown as a human being. I feel as though I'd be in a better place if the opportunity did come up.

"If it doesn't, that's fine as well and I'd support whoever is in charge the same way I've supported Tim and Finchy. I haven't always felt like I wanted to do it again. That's only come in the last little bit," the right-handed batsman said.