Former Australian cricketer Michael Clarke has revealed his preference for pacer Pat Cummins to lead the national side, saying that he is a good leader and should not be overlooked just because he has not expressed his desire to be the next captain.
Test captain Tim Paine has faced much criticism in the recent past over his captaincy as well as his form. With limited-overs skipper Aaron Finch also feeling the pinch over his performance, Clarke feels Cummins is the best candidate to take over the reins of the team across all formats.
“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.
“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 2015 World Cup-winning captain added.
He further said that Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon can rightly extend their support to Cummins.
“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,” he said.
Clarke also said that Smith will play a huge role in the team and his leadership is important. Smith, who was removed as captain following the ball-tampering scandal in 2018, recently expressed his wish to lead the team again.
“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,” he added.