Cricket: Cummins next captain on the rank after Paine resignation

  • Cricket
  • Friday, 19 Nov 2021

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Ashes 2019 - Fourth Test - England v Australia - Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - September 8, 2019 - Australia's Pat Cummins gestures. Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

SYDNEY (Reuters) - After losing their last two test captains amid allegations of misconduct, Cricket Australia will be certain to do their due diligence before appointing the next man to take over the job.

Tim Paine's shock resignation on Friday over sexually explicit text messages followed Steve Smith's departure from the team's leadership in the wake of the controversial 2018 Newlands ball-tampering scandal.

"The board has accepted Tim's resignation and will now work through a process with the national selection panel of identifying and appointing a new captain," CA said in a statement.

As vice-captain, 28-year-old fast bowler Pat Cummins would be the obvious choice to replace Paine and his appointment would enable a rapid transition with the start of the Ashes series against England only three weeks away.

Although Cummins has an impeccable record and currently tops the test bowling rankings, Australia, like most of cricket's leading nations, has traditionally chosen its captains from the ranks of its batters.

Ray Lindwall's temporary one-test stint in India in 1956 makes him the only specialist fast bowler to lead Australia in the longest format of the game.

One candidate who can be ruled out unless Cricket Australia is prepared to countermand its own decision is opening batsman David Warner, who was handed a lifetime leadership ban for his part in the Newlands scandal.

Smith, the third best test batsman in the world according to the ICC rankings, is eligible, however, after serving a two-year leadership ban for "sandpapergate".

In anticipation of Paine's widely-expected retirement at the end of the Ashes series, a media campaign to resurrect his three-year reign as skipper has been rumbling along for a while now, and Smith has expressed his interest.

Cummins, though, said recently he was ready, willing and able to step up to the top job and was not overly concerned about adding the captaincy duties to the sometimes arduous workload of leading the pace attack.

Former captain Steve Waugh said earlier this month that it was time a bowler, specifically Cummins, was given the chance to lead the test team, and middle-order batman Travis Head concurred on Friday.

"Obviously Pat's been well spoken about, named as vice-captain, it's hard to go past him, or give him the opportunity," he told reporters after Paine's resignation.

"He's someone who oozes leadership, not only in the way he presents himself and speaks and the way he goes about things and the way he trains, but also when he's on the field."

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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