Tim Paine will turn 37 on the opening day of the first Ashes Test and his successor as Australian captain will be a talking point all summer.
Test legend Steve Waugh says “it’s time” for a bowler to be given the Australian captaincy and endorsed Pat Cummins to take over from skipper Tim Paine when he steps down.
Paine, who turns 37 on the opening day of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba on December 8, is racing the clock to be fit for the clash as he continues his recovery from neck surgery.
He was forced to have surgery in September to repair a pinched nerve in his neck and has only just begun light duties. Paine remains hopeful of making his playing return in a second 11 game for Tasmania in mid-November.
But speculation around Paine’s successor as Test skipper is set to linger throughout the five-match series against England, with Australia set to tour Pakistan, Sri Lanka and then India in 2022.
Cummins, who is national vice-captain of the Test, one-day and T20 teams, would be the first fast bowler since Ray Lindwall in 1956 to captain Australia in a Test match. Lindwall only did it for one match against India.
Waugh, who captain Australia for seven years and finished with a 72 per cent winning rate, was one of the mentors brought in by coach Justin Langer during the 2019 Ashes in England and spent time with all the players.
He was adamant Cummins, who was recently made one-day captain of NSW, should get the opportunity to be skipper
“I’d like to see Pat Cummins have an opportunity,” Waugh said on Wednesday
“They say bowlers can’t do it, but they said keepers couldn’t do it. I think we have to find out if a bowler can be a captain of Australia. I don’t see why not.”
Waugh said Cummins, who is now 28 and has played 128 games for Australia across all formats, including 34 Tests, had the right “acumen” to be a successful leader
“I’ve always thought that if he’s bowling the vice-captain could set the field to give him a mental break,” Waugh told SEN.
“He has good acumen, the respect of the players and he’s ready to go.
“I think when Tim Paine steps down, Pat Cummins is the man to step in.”
Originally published as Australian cricket legend Steve Waugh wants Pat Cummins to be Australia’s next Test skipper