Cricket-Cummins will be 'fine' as Australia captain, says coach Langer

  • Cricket
  • Saturday, 04 Dec 2021

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - First T20 International - England v Australia - Ageas Bowl, Southampton, Britain - September 4, 2020 Australia coach Justin Langer before play Dan Mullan/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

(Reuters) - Australia coach Justin Langer has backed Pat Cummins to handle the workload in his new role as captain after becoming the first fast bowler to hold the post in more than 65 years, ahead of next week's start to the Ashes series against England.

Cummins will lead the team into the series opener at the Gabba in Brisbane on Wednesday and, with former captain Steve Smith serving as deputy, the 28-year-old has enough support to be able to deal with the challenge, Langer said.

"England will be incredibly well prepared for us and we'll be incredibly well prepared for England," Langer told reporters on Saturday.

"Pat will get all the golden nuggets (of data) and he's got a lot of support around him.

"Steve Smith's the formal vice captain, David Warner's got as good a cricket brain as is in the game. Alex Carey has been a captain before, he's behind the stumps. He's got his three best mates there, the bowlers, who will have a view on it.

"He'll be fine strategically I think. It will be just maintaining the balance with his bowling load and then captaining and all the other commitments that come with that. We'll keep an eye on that."

Cummins replaced Tim Paine as captain after the wicketkeeper was involved in a "sexting" scandal that prompted him to resign less than three weeks before the start of the series and take an indefinite mental health break.

He is the first fast bowler to hold the post since Ray Lindwall was captain for a single test in 1956.

Cummins "has got massive upside as a leader and a captain of Australian cricket," Langer said. "He's an outstanding person. As we know, he's an elite player, he's a world class player."

Langer's team will be seeking to defend the Ashes against an England side featuring Ben Stokes after the all-rounder travelled to Australia, having returned from injury and a mental health break.

Stokes famously led England to victory over the Australians in the third test at Headlingley with a virtuoso batting display. Langer said he is looking forward to seeing the 30-year-old in action.

"He's a great cricketer, there's no doubt about that," Langer said. "He's an unbelievable athlete, he's a great competitor and it's great for the game of cricket that Ben Stokes is playing Ashes cricket. We all love it.

"It's an Australian summer and it probably wouldn't be the same without the best players playing. It's really nice to see, hopefully his health's good and we welcome him out here because he's one of the superstars of the game."

(Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by William Mallard)

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