Melbourne (Australia) | Jagran Sports Desk: Star Australian batsman Steve Smith's two-year leadership ban had ended in March this year, making him eligible to captain the national team again. However, all international cricket was cancelled since March because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

But with things slowly returning to normal and the Indian cricket team touring Australia in November, questions were raised again whether Smith will regain the captaincy again. However, Cricket Australian (CA) on Thursday quashed all such questions, saying Tim Paine will continue to lead the national side.

"That’s difficult to say, 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," Australia's chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Smith was sacked from captaincy after Sandpaper-gate in March 2018. In his absence, Tim Paine was handed Australia's Test captaincy while Aaron Finch was handed the reins in ODIs and T20Is. Though Smith's ban has ended, the 31-year-old has been completely overlooked for the leadership roles in Australia.

Meanwhile, Cricket Australia on Thursday announced a 17-member Australian Test squad for the big-ticket four-match series against India, starting December 17. The squad includes five uncapped players.

Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (captain and wicket-keeper), Sean Abbott, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins (vice-captain), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade and David Warner

Australia A squad: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Joe Burns, Jackson Bird, Alex Carey (wicket-keeper), Harry Conway, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Nic Maddinson, Mitchell Marsh (subject to fitness), Michael Neser, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Mark Steketee, Will Sutherland and Mitchell Swepson

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma