Warner looms as Steve Smith’s understudy

For so long a frustration of Cricket Australia’s board, David Warner looms as the man they will entrust as Steve Smith’s understudy.

Smith became Australia’s 45th Test captain last summer.

The 26-year-old’s elevation to the full-time post will come after Michael Clarke plays his 115th and final Test at the Oval later this month.

It needs to be ratified, but that is a formality.

There will be no conjecture.

The more intriguing minutes of that board meeting will focus on Warner.

The reformed wild child looms as the obvious vice-captain candidate.

Everyone else in the side is either too inexperienced at Test level or coming towards the end of their international careers.

Mitchell Johnson has previously been named ODI vice-captain, but management are unlikely to overburden the 33-year-old spearhead.

Veterans Shane Watson and Brad Haddin were both dropped after the first Ashes Test.

It leaves Warner as the main contender in the leadership race.

The pugnacious opener’s career was indisputably on the rocks during the 2013 Ashes, when he was suspended for the first two Tests following a bar-room stoush with Joe Root.

However, Warner has since settled down with the help of wife Candice Falzon.

The 28-year-old will be one of few automatic selections when the XI is picked for the first Test against Bangladesh, which starts on October 9.

Warner also has some experience, having been elevated to captain at Indian Premier League franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad for the 2015 season.

He also called the shots during an Ashes tour game against Derbyshire, when Clarke was off the field and Smith had been rested.

However, CA boss James Sutherland suggested Warner’s elevation was not as straightforward as that of Smith.

“I don’t think that’s necessarily as obvious,” Sutherland said.

“Our next Test series will be against Bangladesh in a couple of months.

“The selectors need to think about where they’re at first and then the board makes a decision based on their recommendation.”

Sutherland’s comments are no huge surprise.

The head honcho lashed Warner’s actions at the Birmingham Walkabout bar as “despicable” in 2013.

He also warned Warner to “stop looking for trouble” in January after his infamous “speak English” row with Rohit Sharma during an ODI.

Warner has since done that on the field, while he also steered clear of alcohol during the Ashes and has generated few inflammatory headlines during the current series.

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