Steve Smith’s two-year ban on captaincy may be coming towards the end but former Australia captain Michael Clarke does not believe his former teammate should be reinstated as the captain. Smith lost the captaincy in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal and was suspended from taking a leadership role for two years.
That suspension comes to a close at the end of the month but with Australia excelling under Tim Paine and Aaron Finch an immediate return to captaincy is off the cards for Smith. But Michael Clarke believes Paine and Finch’s time as captains could come to an end after this summer. He, however, believes that Steve Smith is not the right man for the job.
“In sport in this country we have a sense of the best player needs to be the captain,” Clarke said on Big Sports Breakfast. “I don’t agree with that. I think the best captain needs to be the captain.
“Steve Smith is Australia’s best batsman but I don’t necessarily think he is the right man to captain Australia,” he added.
The World Cup and Ashes-winning skipper then went on to say that “the right man to captain Australia” is pace spearhead Cummins. While Australian cricket has never been a big fan of making pacers the captain of the team, Michael Clarke believes Cummins is the right man for the role.
“I know there has always been a lot of talk about a bowler being captain and generally that is because the bowlers get injured,” said Michael Clarke.
“Pat has shown that he is fit, he is healthy, he can play all three formats. His body has now matured into a position where he will be on the field as much as any batsman.
“He reads the game really well. Yes, he is an opening bowler but he can bat. He is brilliant in the field. He sees the game how a captain needs to see the game,” he added.
Cummins has indeed become an indispensable part of the team across formats. Riddled by injuries in the early stages of his career, he had to wait six years to play his second Test after making his debut as an 18-year-old. He has become Australia’s main man since then, playing 73 matches across the three formats. Only Finch (79 matches) has played more games for Australia in that time.
Michael Clarke further opined that the time is right for one man to lead the side across all three formats, suggesting both Paine and Finch make way after this year’s blockbuster summer which features a Border-Gavaskar series and T20 World Cup.
“For Australian cricket right now, the position they are in, they need one captain across all three formats.
“No disrespect to Aaron Finch, he has done a wonderful job, but at the end of the Twenty20 World Cup in November this year, I think it could be the right time for him to stand down as well and in my opinion Pat Cummins take over the captaincy across all three formats,” opined the legendary captain before adding:
“Tim Paine has done a wonderful job. There is no doubt about it. He has earnt the right to continue to captain Australia until it is time for him to retire.
“If Australia can win there (Border-Gavaskar series) that is an ideal time for Tim to walk away on top and for all of us that love the game to respect what he has been able to achieve as a captain.”