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Tim Paine's success as captain has enabled Cricket Australia to put off discussing one of the thorniest issues in the game: whether Steve Smith should return to the top office.
The announcement of Australia's Test squad and the arrival of India's megastars on these shores on Thursday signalled the game's $300 million season is almost upon us.
While there was no selection controversy, the move to install Pat Cummins as the sole Test vice-captain has shone the spotlight back on Smith's leadership future.
Will Steve Smith lead Australia again?Credit:Getty
Head's issue is job security, though he may be a lot more secure by the end of this season or early 2022. Another contender is Marnus Labuschagne but he, like Cummins, lacks leadership experience.
Which leads us back to Smith, not overlooked so much as not considered at all to be vice-captain at a time when CA has been intent on deepening its leadership pool, a process that effectively creates more captaincy rivals.
There were elements on the CA board who believed Smith's offence was so great he should never lead his country again, though there has been a considerable turnover of directors since South Africa.
Even within CA's performance arm, figures have privately wrestled with the idea of not burdening Smith with the captaincy so he can concentrate solely on his superhuman batting.
Indian officials have forgiven Smith, restoring him to the helm of the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.
Hohns' response when asked if he saw Smith as a potential captain after Paine was indicative of an organisation that does not want the leadership debate to become a major narrative.
"That's difficult to say," Hohns said. "He will obviously be probably a contender, but whether we go down that path or not depends on when that arises. Tim Paine hasn't gone yet, put it that way. So we'll worry about that in due course."
The more pressing issue for selectors is whether to stick with Joe Burns or usher in generation next with Will Pucovski. The case is clear cut on numbers alone, but Burns still has friends in high places. He has the support of David Warner, which carries weight as selectors have said they will seek the senior batsman's counsel.
Openers have a tighter bond than most in a cricket team, a point Justin Langer would appreciate. Only seven other opening pairs have scored more runs together for Australia than the incumbent duo.
The first Test is next month, not next week, so Burns has time. A strong showing for Australia A will make his struggles of recent weeks a distant memory.
The squad contained five uncapped players but no bolters or hard luck stories. Potential was recognised, but form was the primary currency.
Cameron Green will wear the drinks waiter's vest before the baggy green, his chance for a debut unlikely to come until the new year.
Sean Abbott was rewarded for his stellar numbers with bat and ball, but seldom has there been a worse time to be the country's fifth or sixth best quick.
Mitchell Swepson will be hoping the summer sun bakes the SCG pitch to warrant a second spinner, otherwise he too must wait for his Test cap.
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