Usman Khawaja has called for Steve Smith to again captain Australia once Tim Paine’s tenure ends.
The Queensland skipper said if Smith – who was stripped of the Test captaincy after the South African sandpaper scandal – again wanted the job, it should go to him, despite some calls for vice-captain Pat Cummins or batting sensation Marnus Labuschagne to succeed Paine.
“If Steve Smith wants to captain Australia, I think he should captain Australia,” Khawaja said.
“He’s our number one batsman, he’s done it before, he’s paid for his mistakes, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be in line for the captaincy if wants to do it.”
Watch The QANTAS T20 Tour of NZ Live & On-Demand on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >
Khawaja said there had been no discussions among the Queensland hierarchy about Labuschagne taking over the Bulls captaincy to prepare him for the possibility of him leading Australia in the future.
He added that Labuschagne had not approached him for any captaincy or leadership tips.
The pair will be key to the Bulls’ hopes of winning their Sheffield Shield clash against Western Australia starting on Saturday at the Gabba.
Khawaja brings great form into the match after scoring an unbeaten 115 in Queensland’s three-wicket win over Tasmania at Blundstone Arena last month.
It’s form that has led to former Test captain Michael Clarke calling for the 34-year-old left-hander to be recalled to the Australian team.
Khawaja, who has scored 2877 runs in 44 Tests at an average of 40.66, has not played for Australia since August 2019.
“It’s always nice to get support from an ex-Test captain. He’s a gun player himself, but I don’t read too much into it,” Khawaja said.
“I feel good. All season actually I’ve felt really good. Sometimes that always doesn’t translate to runs.
Get all the latest cricket news, highlights and analysis delivered straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Sign up now!!!
“You can’t get too relaxed on yourself and think that things are going to work out. There’s still a lot of hard work to be done.
“When things are going well, you just try to keep doing the same thing for as long as you can, because there are plenty of time when things don’t go well, no matter who you are.
“Hopefully I can keep getting runs for Queensland and we can win more games.”
The Bulls currently top the Shield ladder, but are wary of a West Australian side containing Test all-rounder Cameron Green.
“WA play quite well here too most times. They have a similar wicket at home, they have a bouncy track, and I think out of all the teams, they handle these (Gabba) conditions as well as anyone,” Khawaja said.
“(Green) batted beautifully last year in the second innings here … he’s going to be a big one.”