Aussie great backs Cummins to replace Paine as Test captain

Adam Gilchrist says Pat Cummins should be given “first opportunity” to captain the Australian men’s Test team in the wake of Tim Paine’s resignation.

Australia will name a new captain in the lead-up to the Ashes series after Paine sensationally stepped down from the role last Friday over a sexting scandal.

The first Ashes Test commences on December 8 at the Gabba.

Gilchrist — who captained Australia in six of 96 Tests — said Cummins deserved the opportunity to lead Australia.

“I think Pat Cummins is the frontrunner there,” said Gilchrist, who also served as vice-captain to Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting.

“I’ve got no problems with him having first opportunity.

“They should have him if he’s keen to do it and he must be reasonably happy to take the role, given he’s vice-captain.”

Australia has been reluctant to appoint bowlers as captains, with most coming from the batting ranks.

Cummins would be only the second specialist fast bowler in the role since Ray Lindwall captained Australia in one Test against India in the 1950s.

“I see no reason to pigeonhole Pat as a fast bowler who can’t do it,” Gilchrist said.

Tim Paine walks with his helmet under his arm and wicketkeeping gloves in his hand
Tim Paine stepped down as Test captain last week.(Action Images via Reuters: Lee Smith)

Former captain Steve Smith is eligible for the role, having completed a two-year suspension from leadership positions with the Australian team last year for his part in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal.

Smith has voiced his hopes of returning to the captaincy, but pundits are divided as to whether the public would be ready to embrace the batter as skipper again.

Gilchrist said the 28-year-old Cummins had stepped up as a senior leader while Smith was banned from leadership positions.

“I just think Pat Cummins has developed into a more integral part of that team and grown in his knowledge of the game and experiences he’s had,” he said.

“I think it’s a case of whilst you’re away, someone else has come in over the top of you, to an extent.

“Steve Smith could very well take the captaincy again, but Pat Cummins will be the guy they lean to now.”

Paine returned to playing duties on Monday, lining up for the Tasmanian second XI against their South Australian counterparts in Hobart.

It was his first competitive match since March, having spent time on the sidelines after he had neck surgery earlier this year.


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