Though part of the board which slapped the heavy bans on the Cape Town trio, Taylor has held the firm view Smith is the man to succeed Paine, 36 in December, but now notes time could be against the former skipper.
“I think the thing that will potentially go against him is how long Tim Paine will play for,” Taylor said. “If he’s still there at 37, 38, then it might be too late for Steve. Conversely, if in the next year or so Tim’s form [drops] or he gives it away, I’d like to think Steve would be considered.
“Yes, some mistakes were made a couple of years ago, I still feel to the day he was very wary of the mistakes he made and I don’t think it would happen again. I wouldn’t rule him out of captaining Australia in the future.”
The longer Paine stays, the more time there is for Head to cement his place in the XI or for Cummins to gain more experience leading a team.
Langer gave Paine a ringing endorsement on Friday, reiterating that the gloveman is “our most important player at the moment”.
“His captaincy is brilliant, hes the best wicketkeeper in the world in my opinion, the role hes played in the last couple of years is incredible as the leader,” Langer said.
“His batting, a bit like the allrounder, is a bonus for us. He works very hard, hes very proud of his batting and puts a lot of effort into it. We are looking forward to seeing him play that role for some time to come yet.”
Taylor’s queries over Cummins are not to do with his character but his role as a bowler. For Taylor, the captaincy is best held by a batsman, who is not distracted by the need to bowl or keep wickets while calling the shots in the field.
Paine’s success is not changing that view, despite Taylor’s role in rubber-stamping the country’s 46th male Test captain.
“I think he’s done a very good job, don’t get me wrong, but I also think he took over at such a hard time and the cricket side was at such a low there was a lot of room for improvement, put it that way,” Taylor said.
“There’s no doubt he was made captain because he was a senior cricketer in Australian cricket, with his head screwed on right, and therefore he was the right man for the job at the right time.
“I don’t necessarily think anyone thought he was a brilliant captain when they gave him the captaincy. It was more about he was a certainly a very good, sensible cricketer who was very much needed at the time. And he’s grown into the captaincy since then.”
Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald