Langer plays down talk of Smith skippering again
Justin Langer has played down talk of Steve Smith resuming the Australia captaincy and praised the "great job" being done by Tim Paine.
Smith's runs inspired the Baggy Green to retain the Ashes in England this year, leading to speculation he could return to the helm after the end of his Cricket Australia-imposed leadership ban.
Paine took on the role after Smith's downfall in the wake of the ball-tampering saga and results since then have been underwhelming.
Australia lost 1-0 to Pakistan in two Tests in the United Arab Emirates before Paine later suffered the setback of becoming the first captain from the country to lose a series at home against India.
However, the hard-fought 2-2 draw in England meant Paine succeeded where Ricky Ponting and Smith himself had failed in becoming the first Australian side to retain the Ashes in England since 2001.
Coach Langer has showered praise on the captain, though he acknowledged that the 35-year-old had scope for improvement.
"Tim Paine is doing a brilliant job at the moment, he's been outstanding in his time as captain," Langer told ABC Grandstand. "However long he wants to keep playing for, that's another thing. I'm sure, like all these things, it'll get worked out when the timing's right.
"The beauty of Tim Paine is he will keep getting better. Even at his age, with his youthful enthusiasm, he's got lots of areas he can improve, and that's heartening for him and for us. At the moment, he's doing a great job."
And on the possible return of the world's best batsman to leading the side, Langer admitted concerns that the added pressure of captaincy may weigh Smith down further.
He added: "We have to work out what's best, I mean you saw how exhausted he was [at the end of the Ashes] from the effort he puts into his batting. Whether he wants the burden of captaincy as well, that'll have to be something we work out over time."
Simon Barlow has a wealth of journalism experience and in-depth knowledge in a number of sports. As well as his extensive football knowledge, Simon is also well versed on cricket, tennis, American Football and cycling amongst others.