Steve Smith made a fantastic comeback into the Australian cricket team after the end of his one-year ban for the ball-tampering scandal during the Newlands Test against South Africa in 2018. In the 2019 Ashes contest, Smith was the key reason why Australia avoided a loss in England after 18 years. His 774 runs at an average of 110, which included twin centuries in Edgbaston and the double century in Manchester, helped Australia draw the series 2-2. However, one part of the ball-tampering scandal punishment included a further year-long exile from any leadership role in the team, which means Smith might not be able to captain Australia until March 2020.
After the end of the Ashes, Smith revealed how he was spent physically and emotionally by the time the fifth Test had begun. There have now been demands for Smith to take over the captaincy reigns from Tim Paine after the end of the home series against Pakistan and New Zealand. However, Australia cricket team coach Justin Langer has said there will be a honest discussion on Smith regarding whether he wants to take over the captaincy.
"I've built a good relationship with Steve over the last 18 months, and it (the captaincy) is going to come down to honest conversations. You can see how exhausted he was from the effort he put into his batting (during the Ashes), and whether he wants the burden of captaincy as well is something we'll have to work out over time. I'll be one of the selectors, and I think we'll just work out what's best," Langer said.
Like Smith, David Warner was the other player who was banned for one year following the ball-tampering scandal but Warner has been permanently banned from leading the side in any capacity. Warner made a grand comeback by becoming the highest run-getter in the 2019 IPL and also had a good outing in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. However, in the Ashes, he endured a miserable time, falling eight times to Stuart Broad and managing just 95 runs in the series, out of which one knock of 61 came in one innings in Leeds.
However, Warner smashed a century in his opening Sheffield Shield encounter against Queensland and Langer said you cannot write off Warner.
"He had a poor series against England, no doubt. That's just a fact, and he knows that. But he also hasn't lost his talent, because he was the highest run scorer in the World Cup two weeks before the Ashes started, and he was the highest run scorer in the IPL (Indian Premier League) before that. So he can bat. The other thing about David Warner, my experience tells me that you never write off champion players. And he's a champion player," Langer said.