Nathan Lyon believes that Pat Cummins and Steve Smith are the two best candidates for Australia's next Test captain. Smith captained the side in all formats after Michael Clarke’s in 2015, until being banned after the 2018 Cape Town ball-tampering episode, after which which Tim Paine had taken over.
Ever since Tim Paine stepped down from the captaincy after the texting controversy emerged, quite a few former cricketers have given their opinion on who should be Australia's next Test captain. Paine decided to step down after the 2017 texting controversy resurfaced in the media recently, although he was cleared by the investigation unit in 2018.
Nathan Lyon, the team's premier off-spinner, feels that Pat Cummins and Steve Smith are the two best candidates to take over. Smith has captained the side after Michael Clarke's retirement in 2015 until the 2018 Cape Town Test, after which he, alongside David Warner, were banned for leadership role. Cummins has captained the New South Wales Blues team in limited-overs format.
"I think you look at the two guys who have been interviewed by Australia for the two roles, I think they're probably the two best candidates in my eyes," Lyon said.
"Playing under Pat at New South Wales cricket in the one-day set up last year, I think he did a really good job, to be honest with you. I know it's going to be a different kettle of fish, but he's got a lot of senior players around him to support Pat if he does get the nod. But then you look at Steve Smith, I think Smithy is up there with the best batters in the world. He's got a great cricket mind and I've got no dramas with both of them putting their hand up for the captaincy, to be honest with you."
"If I put my hand up for the captaincy it means I'd have to hand over the team song and to be honest, I'd rather lead the team song. So I'm more than happy for Pat and Steve and anyone else to put their hand up. I'll keep my hand down," he said.
The 34-year-old further added that Cummins and Smith will have a positive impact on the side as the team will get a bowler and batsmen’s mindset.
"I think it will have a really positive effect, if you look at the guys who are going to be captain and vice-captain and whichever way that goes," Lyon said. "I think it's going to be really beneficial that you've got a bowler's mindset, and also a batter's mindset, rather than having two batters' mindset. You've actually got both mindsets that can come together and really come up with some really good guidance, I guess.
"So I'm really excited by the fact that we're potentially going to have a bowler as captain but in saying that we've also got the best one of the best batters and one of the best players to play the game in Smithy there as well.
"I think there's going to be some really good, open, and honest conversations throughout those two guys and there's going to be some really good guidance. We've got some really senior guys throughout our squad with some younger players here as well so I think Cricket Australia's going to be in some good hands."
The New South Wales-born player was in no doubt as to whether Paine should be in the side for the first Test, although there lies some uncertainty around it.
"I think the selectors said that we're going to pick the best available XI and, in my eyes, Tim Paine is the best keeper in the world. I know I want him," Lyon said.
"This is very selfish from a bowler's point of view. I want the best gloveman behind the stumps and in my eyes, that's Tim Paine."