'Steve Smith won't be the only candidate for Australia captaincy' – Tim Paine
Australia's incumbent Test skipper Tim Paine feels Steve Smith will have to compete with a horde of youngsters to succeed him in the leadership role.
Smith previously captained the side before facing the consequences for his involvement in the infamous ball-tampering scandal in 2018.
As a result of his plan to alter the condition of the ball using sandpaper, the master batsman was given a 12-month suspension from cricket and an additional one-year ban from any leadership position.
This sentence expired last week, reopening discussions that Smith could soon become the Test captain given the fact that 35-year-old Paine is in the twilight of his career.
However, the wicketkeeper-batsman admitted he was not yet ready to walk away from the sport, having led Australia to the second spot in the World Test Championship.
Paine refused to detail a timetable for his potential departure and left all talks surrounding his removal from the post to head coach Justin Langer and the selectors.
"I know what I'm thinking, in terms of how far I can play on and we're on the same page," he told reporters in a video press conference.
Paine claimed there was no dearth of talented blokes in the Australia set-up, who would be keen to step up and assume leadership responsibilities.
With the likes of consistent performers Marnus Labuschagne and Pat Cummins also in the selectors' radar, it seems Smith might not be the only candidate for the role.
"We've got a number of guys to choose from who can put their hand up," Paine said.
"There's Steve Smith, who's done it before, or the people who are developing underneath like a Travis Head or an Alex Carey -- Marnus Labuschagne and Pat Cummins are other ones.
"We're starting to build some real depth so that when my time's up we've got a number of options."