Former Australia cricketer Greg Chappell is expecting pacer Pat Cummins to be announced as the next Test captain of Australia. He added that apart from being the captain, Cummins will also have to take up the responsibility of rebuilding faith in the job as well as in Australian cricket.
Chappell’s comments come after Australia started their hunt for a new Test skipper after Tim Paine’s unceremonious exit due to an off-field scandal, especially with just 18 days left for the first Test at Brisbane to begin.
“The fortunate thing is that in Pat Cummins, they have an excellent candidate, ready to go. I expect Cummins to be announced as the 47th Australian men’s Test captain. Like Paine before him, Cummins will be required to not merely lead the team but again rebuild faith in the role and Australian cricket,” wrote Chappell in his column for The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday.
Chappell pointed out that Cummins is blessed with an excellent cricketing brain and prefers to talk through his performances.
“Pat is extremely intelligent, an outstanding player and has an excellent cricket brain, so is ideal for the role. Besides, he is not lippy, preferring the bat and ball to do the talking. Naturally athletic, a terrific fielder with a rocket arm, I expect him to improve in leaps and bounds as a batter with the responsibility of captaincy. He is easily the world’s best No.8 batter currently, but capable of batting a notch higher.
“The captain traditionally fields close to the wicket to control proceedings. Cummins is such a brilliant all-round fielder that he can be close to his bowlers, instead of the outfield pastures usually favoured by fast bowlers. Crowds love him and see him for what he is — a cleanskin, who always bowls his heart out for Australia and a resilient chap who has overcome injury challenges with sheer perseverance, dedication and dint of character.”
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While being appreciative of what Cummins brings to the table, Chappell is worried about his workload growing manifolds due to Test captaincy. In the 2019 Ashes in England, where Australia retained the urn in a 2-2 draw, Cummins had played all five matches.
“My biggest fear? The workload, which could preclude him playing a full, five-Test series, without a rest. So, it would be interesting to see who is appointed as his deputy. Cummins will also have to learn to use himself judiciously and neither over-bowl nor under-bowl. It is imperative that the seniors in the team advise him, in a timely manner. All of which leaves the selectors with another conundrum when it comes to choosing the side for the coming series.”
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The 73-year-old feels that with Cummins being an inexperienced captain, seniors like David Warner can help him with decision making.
“Obviously, there is a question mark about his lack of captaincy experience, but there are enough old hands around him to help when required. For instance, David Warner has been an outstanding captain of his Twenty20 franchise in the high-pressure cauldron of the IPL, and even led them to a tournament win, so he can be depended upon to contribute constructively.”
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