BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 25: Steve Smith of Australia celebrates after reaching his century during day three of the First Test Match of the 2017/18 Ashes Series between Australia and England at The Gabba on November 25, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Former Australian captain Michael Clarke has fired off a warning shot at Steve Smith, warning him he can't afford to repeat actions carried out when he first returned to the team following his suspension.

Clarke, who was Smith's captain for a number of years before Smith took over the Australian test team upon Clarke's retirement, said Smith was too hands on when Paine was captaining the team.

Smith was stripped of the captaincy and suspended for 12 months, before having a further 12-month leadership ban slapped on him following the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.

Upon his return to the team, images emerged of Smith directing the field around while standing next to Paine in the slips cordon, and Clarke said on Sky Sports Big Sports Breakfast that if Pat Cummins wins the race to become Australia's next captain, Smith can't afford to repeat the actions.

Australian bowler Pat Cummins reaches for the ball on the second day of the fourth Test cricket match between South Africa and Australia won by South Africa at Wanderers cricket ground on March 31, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. / AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (Photo credit should read GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images)

“He’s got to be careful Smithy, because he copped some criticism for doing that when Tim Paine took over the captaincy as well,” Clarke said.

“That he was standing in slip waving his hands, moving the field. If he is vice-captain or even if he is not, he has got to be very careful. There can only be one captain on the field.

“That is what leadership is about as well, owning that. If it is Pat Cummins, he can take advice and guidance but then it’s up to him to be making the decisions.”

It's understood the race to become Australia's next Test captain is very much a race of two, between Cummins and Smith.

Cummins has been Paine's deputy for a number of years and would be the natural selection, however, Australia have had a hesitancy to pick fast bowlers in the role.

Cummins himself has previously discussed the fact he would be "gassed" after bowling, and juggling captaincy may be too much, but it's understood both players were interviewed this week and a decision from Cricket Australia is due in the coming days.