Former Australia skipper Steve Smith has been announced as the captain of Welsh Fire in the inaugural season of The Hundred.

Smith, 30, will lead fellow countryman Mitchell Starc as well as England World Cup winners Jonny Bairstow and Liam Plunkett along with rising star Tom Banton in the Cardiff-based squad.

“It is an honour to be asked to captain Welsh Fire in the first year of The Hundred,” said Smith, who served a suspension for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal during a 2018 Test match in South Africa.

“Our squad looks super strong with a great group of players who have dominated the international and domestic scenes for the past few years.

“Tom Banton is one of the most exciting young players in the world right now and Mitchell Starc brings the X-factor with the ball, so we are looking to put on an amazing show for the fans in Cardiff.”

Since returning to international cricket, Smith has climbed to second place in the Test batsman rankings and last week made a solid start in both of his Twenty20 matches when playing back in South Africa for the first time.

Steve Smith helped Australia retain the Ashes in England last summer
Steve Smith helped Australia retain the Ashes in England last summer (Mike Egerton/PA)

Welsh Fire men’s head coach Gary Kirsten said: “Steve’s knowledge and experience of leading teams in pressurised situations will definitely help us in this first season of The Hundred.

“He has got a track record of getting the best out of his players while performing to a very high standard himself, which will be key for us this summer.”

Welsh Fire will travel to Oval Invincibles in the opening fixture of the new competition on July 17.

Smith and Starc are part of a 10-strong Australian contingent picked in the October draft.

The Hundred is due to run until August 15 and could clash with a rescheduled one-day series between Australia and Zimbabwe, which would impact on player availability for the domestic tournament.