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Shane Warne says Steve Smith should focus on batting and not regaining Australia captaincy

"I just want Smith to bat and bat and bat. He is a leader on the field anyway and I don't think he needs to captain"

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Shane Warne says Steve Smith is not the only candidate to replace Tim Paine as Australia captain when the latter eventually moves on

Shane Warne told the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast that Steve Smith should focus on batting and not be reinstated as Australia captain.

Smith's two-year leadership ban following the ball-tampering scandal has elapsed and he is now eligible to succeed Tim Paine as Test skipper.

However, Baggy Greens legend Warne says Paine - who steered Australia to an Ashes-retaining 2-2 draw in England last summer - should keep his job, while he insists Smith is not the only candidate to replace the current captain in the event that a lack of runs sees the 35-year-old dropped.

"I'm sure he could captain Australia again but if I was a selector I wouldn't [go that way]," Warne said of Smith, who scored 774 runs in four Ashes Tests in 2019 at an average of 110.57, including three centuries.

Listen to the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast - which also featured Nasser Hussain, Ian Ward and Rob Key - in the player above or by downloading: iTunes | Spotify | Spreaker

"I just want Smith to bat, I don't want him to worry about the other stuff. I just want him to bat and bat and bat. He is a leader on the field anyway and I don't think he needs to captain," added Warne.

"I would keep Paine as captain as long as he is making runs. He has done a very good job as captain. It's a different situation if Paine doesn't make runs and is out of the side as then Smith comes back into calculations.

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Tim Paine took the Australian captaincy following Steve Smith's ban for ball-tampering
Image: Paine has been Australia's Test captain since the ball-tampering scandal

"But when everyone says there is no one else, it's amazing who puts their hand up and you suddenly think 'hang on, there might be'.

"Will it be Travis Head? We know how good a player he can be, although he finds a way to get out all the time around 40 or 50 having done all the hard work. He does a great job captaining South Australia.

"Why couldn't Pat Cummins do it as a bowler? I think there will be other candidates by the time Paine decides to finish."

Also on the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast...

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Warne has picked an XI from the best England players he faced, with our very own Nasser Hussain making the cut.

- Warne picks a series of ultimate XIs - an England team from players he faced, an Australia team from players he played with and a combined Ashes XI

- How Warne swiftly went from grade cricket to international cricket with Australia

- Why he was at his best between 1992 and 1996

- Some hilarious battles he had with Carl Hooper, Nasser and Daryl Cullinan

- Some top tips for budding leg-spinners

- Why he loved playing under Mark Taylor and why Adam Gilchrist got the nod over Ian Healy for the wicketkeeping spot in the best Australia XI he played with

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