Aaron Finch has reportedly been axed as Australia's T20 captain ahead of the upcoming World T20, with Steve Smith set to replace him when the 15-man squad is named on Tuesday.
Finch, who has been battling to overcome a hamstring injury in time to take his place for the ICC event beginning in India next month but looks on track to be fit well before then, looks to have been usurped by Test and ODI captain Smith, who looks poised to take the reins in all three formats.
World T20: Aussies face conundrum
Under Cricket Australia policy, the confirmation of a new captain must be ratified by the CA Board.
Selector Rod Marsh said last month that promoting Smith as T20 captain was considered when the panel selected the squad for the KFC T20 INTL series against India in January.
"Those things are always considered, but at the moment Aaron is doing the job and doing it nicely," Marsh said at the time.
That way of thinking looks to have shifted dramatically and if Smith does take on the top job in the T20 format, it will bring an end to Finch's 17-month tenure in the role, in which he led Australia on six occasions for three victories.
Australia T20 captain Aaron Finch takes viewers into the middle with his conference with debutant bowler Andrew Tye as they set the field for Shikhar Dhawan
Update: The latest on Finch's setback
Writing last month for cricket.com.au, Smith gave no indication change was afoot within the national T20 side.
"The captaincy duties for our T20 team rest with Aaron Finch and so I'll be looking forward to the opportunity of simply going out there as a player on Australia Day to try and score a few runs and maybe take a couple of catches," he wrote.
"If 'Finchy' asks for my input on any of the on-field decisions I'll be happy to weigh in, but otherwise I'm more than happy to leave it to him and just focus on whatever I can to help Australia win."
Australia have a poor record at World T20 tournaments, with the trophy the one piece of ICC silverware still to elude them.
At the March 2014 tournament in Bangladesh, they won just one game – a dead rubber against the hosts – to crash out in the group stages.
Tasmanian George Bailey was captain at the time, but opted to relinquish the position in September 2014 as he set his sights on a return to Test cricket.
At the time, Bailey said he wanted to give his successor ample time ahead of the 2016 World T20 tournament, but also cited the tribulations of the role and international T20 cricket in general.
"Just the structure and scheduling of T20 is a really big challenge," Bailey said. "Often it's hard to remember who you had in your squad from one tour to the next, and (there are) a lot of one and two-game series which is quite challenging as well.
"But also we've had the chance to see a number of young guys come through and develop which is exciting.
"I wanted to give a new captain an opportunity to find his feet and put his mark on that team for the (2016) World Cup."