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Steve Smith to lead Australia 3.5 years after ball tampering scandal

Adelaide : Former Australian skipper Steve Smith will lead Aussies after three and a half years on Thursday in the second Ashes Test against England.

Australia Test skipper Pat Cummins has been ruled out of the second Ashes Test against England after being deemed a close contact of a person who received a positive COVID-19 test last night.
Smith has been named captain of Australia for second Test against England.

“Cummins is understandably very disappointed not to be able to captain Australia for the day-night Test in Adelaide. Steve Smith will captain the team in Cummins’ absence,” Cricket Australia said in a statement.

In March this year, Smith for the first time had openly talked about wanting to lead Australia again. The 31-year-old cricketer was removed as the skipper following his involvement in the Sandpaper Gate fiasco in the Cape Town Test against South Africa in March 2018.

Smith’s captaincy ban expired last year, however, he was not handed back the leadership post as Paine continued to lead the side in the longest format of the game.

Last month, Tim Paine had stepped down as Australia skipper after a sexting scandal and decided to take some time off from the game to look after his mental health.

After Paine’s removal, Cricket Australia (CA) had informed that Steve was available for the role of Test captaincy. However, Smith was named vice-captain and Cummins was chosen to lead Australia in the longest format.