Former Australia cricket team captain Michael Clarke has opined that fast bowler Pat Cummins should take over the captaincy role of the national side in all formats of the game.
Clarke made the statement after a discussion around the next Australian captain has once again gathered steam following Steve Smith’s desire to reclaim his position as the leader of the Australian side across formats.
Smith was removed as the captain once he confirmed his involvement in the ball-tampering incident in the Cape Town Test against South Africa in March 2018.
Australia immediately appointed Tim Paine as the captain of the Test side while Aaron Finch was made the skipper in the limited-overs.
"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," said Australia’s 2015 World Cup-winning captain.
Clarke further stated that Cummins’ inexperience as a leader should not be viewed as a hindrance and he will have experienced players around him to help him out, including Smith.
"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 (current Test captain) Tim Paine retires then someone like Alex Carey comes in, who has captained South Australia, captained (in) the BBL (Big Bash League), 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, who captained Australia in 47 Tests, 74 ODIs and 18 T20Is between 2007 and 2015, said that regardless of whether Smith becomes captain of the team again or not, the talismanic batsman will always have an important role to play in the dressing room.
"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, (Smith) 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.
Feature image courtesy: Punit PARANJPE / AFP