Former Australia skipper Michael Clarke has vouched for Pat Cummins to be the next permanent skipper of the Aussie side and believes the speedster has everything it takes to be a world-class leader. Cummins is currently leading NSW in the Marsh Cup, where he’s had a 100% win record.
Two months ago, Australia, under the leadership of Tim Paine, suffered an embarrassing 2-1 defeat at the hands of a second-string Indian side and, ever since, there have been wide-range discussions over who the next Australian Test skipper should be. Pat Cummins being the side’s vice-captain would indicate that he would automatically be next in line to take over, but several experts and ex-cricketers have voiced displeasure over the premier speedster becoming the captain, primarily due to the unwritten rule that ‘bowlers don’t make good captains.’
However, in strong disagreement with the same is former Aussie skipper Michael Clarke, who is of the opinion that it is a no-brainer to let Cummins succeed Paine. Cummins is currently leading New South Wales in Australia’s 50-over competition, Marsh Cup, where the Blues have won 3/3 matches under his leadership, and Clarke believes the 27-year-old has shown enough tactical nous to indicate that he is ready to take over national leadership.
"Just because Cummins isn't out there saying I should be the next captain and I'm ready... it doesn't mean he's not a good leader,” Clarke told Big Sports Breakfast, as reported by Fox Sports.
“I've made it clear what I think about Pat Cummins. I think he's shown he's fit and strong enough to play all three formats now, he's done that for the last few years. His captaincy I've watched tactically for New South Wales he's been pretty good.”
The other candidates for the leadership role are Travis Head and Steve Smith, and while many are apprehensive about throwing captaincy to the southpaw because he is not a lock in the Test side, there have also been myriad fans and former cricketers who are against handing the captaincy back to Smith, owing to his tainted past. Clarke noted that, despite his inexperience in captaincy, Cummins has enough leaders around him who can help him in thriving as the side’s skipper.
"Yes he's young and inexperienced as a leader but he'll have good senior players around him so to me I do believe Pat Cummins is the right guy to take over the leadership in all three formats at the right time. Of course, he will need a good vice-captain. An example of that - if Tim Paine retires then someone like Alex Carey comes in, who has captained South Australia, captained the BBL, been vice-captain of Australia.
"I think he would make a very good vice-captain. You've got the likes of Steve Smith, David Warner, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne. All these guys have got leadership experience as well. They can help Pat Cummins," Clarke said.
Smith, earlier this week, expressed that he would love to lead Australia again, but Clarke believes that the right-hander is the kind of character who won’t really need an armband to be a leader. Clarke admitted that Smith’s leadership and presence will be important, but added that he can still be a strong presence by just guiding Cummins.
"You don't necessarily need to have the captain or vice-captain armband to be a leader and I feel like I say that every single day. Smithy is going to play a huge role in the Australian team moving forward, whether he takes over the captaincy or not, his leadership is going to be important," said Clarke.
"If Pat Cummins gets the job, that is the first guy I would be going to and speaking to. He's going to need his support. I think Australia does have options, they are in a wonderful place. They've just got to have the confidence to pick the right person, back him, and put some support around him.”