Michael Clarke backs Pat Cummins to become Australia’s all-format skipper
Following the defeat to India at home earlier this year, there have been calls to sack Tim Paine as the Test captain.
Updated - Apr 1, 2021 7:24 am
Former Australia skipper Michael Clarke has weighed in with his views over the captaincy debate going on in the Australian cricket fraternity. The debate was triggered by Australia’s shock loss to India in the Test series at home earlier this year. India were without their skipper Virat Kohli for three of the four Tests and missed several key players due to injuries but still managed to beat the Tim Paine-led side.
It was Australia’s second successive defeat in Tests at home against India. Incidentally, both the defeats came under Paine’s captaincy. The 1-2 series loss also cost Australia a place in the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Before the start of the series, they were at the top of the points table in the WTC.
In the wake of the defeat, several quarters have called for the sacking of Paine as the Test captain. And recently, Steve Smith made things more interesting by expressing his desire to lead the Australian team once again. And as the Australian cricket fraternity continue to debate over the captaincy, Clarke has backed fast-bowler Pat Cummins to lead the team at the highest level.
“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. 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,” Clarke was quoted as saying to Big Sports Breakfast.
“His captaincy I’ve watched tactically for New South Wales he’s been pretty good. 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,” he added.
You don’t necessarily need to have the captain or vice-captain armband to be a leader: Michael Clarke
Speaking further, Clarke stated that a player does not need to be a captain or the vice-captain to be a leader for the team. The World Cup-winning skipper also said that Smith would play a big role in the team irrespective of whether he is the captain or not. Clarke concluded by reiterating that he prefers Cummins to lead Australia in all three formats.
“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.
“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,” said Clarke.