Pat Cummins deserves to be captain, but history says it's bloody tough for a bowler to lead: Darren Berry

I don’t like fast bowlers as captains, Berry said.

Pat Cummins of Australia
Pat Cummins of Australia. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Gallo Images)

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Former Victorian wicketkeeper Darren Berry feels that despite being a deserving candidate for Australia’s Test captaincy, Pat Cummins should not be assigned the role as he is a bowler, who as per Berry’s belief is not ideal to be given the responsibility.

Cummins is being billed as the frontrunner for the leadership role ever since Tim Paine announced his decision to step down in the aftermath of his off-field scandal. While an official confirmation regarding who will take the role is yet to be made, Cricket Australia chairman Richard Freudenstein stated Steve Smith to be “one of the contenders” on November 20.

“Given the immediacy of it, I think they (CA) will go to Pat Cummins, and he deserves (it), he’s vice-captain, but personally I don’t like a fast bowler as captain. History says that it’s bloody tough to bowl 10 overs, go to fine leg and go, ‘now I’ve got to move the field’,” said Berry.

“I don’t like fast bowlers as captains, I’ve played under a couple and they’ve been okay,” added the 51-year-old, who has featured in 153 First-class games and registered more than 4,000 runs and 552 catches as a wicketkeeper.

Berry also shared his thoughts regarding Paine’s place in the Australia Test team and reckoned that if fit, he must play the Ashes, being the current best wicketkeeper-batter in the country. “As the Australian captain, with the revelations, he had no choice but to stand down as captain,” Berry said on SEN Drive on Saturday.

“I would like to say from the outset – if he is available, he is the best wicketkeeper in Australia, nobody condones what’s happened, it’s wrong, but he hasn’t killed anybody, he hasn’t robbed a bank, he’s made a horrible mistake that he’s going to have to live with, with his family and I feel for him, even though he’s made a horrible mistake. But I want to say, and people will disagree, if he’s available, I would pick him.”

“If you’re looking for the best wicketkeeper/batsman to play the first Test, he’s not captain, I’m picking Tim Paine. If he plays this weekend and he plays the Australian A game and he keeps and he’s saying I’m fit to go, I’m picking him, now that’s going to divide opinion,” added Berry.

Paine had undergone surgery on a pinched nerve in September in Hobart, which reduced his ability to train at full intensity due to discomfort. “I will be ready to go by the first test and am very much looking forward to what will be a huge summer,” he said back then.

Despite stepping down from captaincy, Paine called out in certain terms that he will be available for the Ashes, starting from December 8 in Brisbane.