Having won man of the series honours during a phenomenal Ashes tour, Smith has also found white-ball form with Australia’s Twenty20 side.
But the batting marvel doesn’t believe being freed from the pressures of captaincy has elevated his performance.
“I actually think I play better with pressure, that extra pressure when the team needs something more and things like that,” Smith said in Perth ahead of Friday’s third and final Twenty20 against Pakistan at Optus Stadium.
“My record probably is better when I’m captain than when I’m not. That sort of pressure doesn’t really bother me.
“But I’m not thinking about captaincy or anything at this point in time. I’m really comfortable where I’m at and I’m enjoying what I’m doing.”
The Test captaincy debate has been heightened by the lack of obvious candidates other than Smith to eventually replace the 35-year-old Paine.
Travis Head served as vice-captain during the Ashes but was dropped before the end of the series in a blow to his aspirations.
Pat Cummins has been touted by many as a future skipper but appears reluctant given the already heavy demands of fast bowling.
National selectors appear to be grooming Alex Carey as a future Test captain after tasking him with captaining Australia A in a tour match against Pakistan starting in Perth on Monday.
Carey will lead a strong side including Head, Usman Khawaja, Joe Burns, Will Pucovski and Nic Maddinson, all of whom are vying for selection in the first Test.
The wicketkeeper is yet to make his Test debut but is Australia’s Twenty20 and one-day international vice-captain.