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Ashes news; Steve Waugh says Pat Cummins should take Tim Paine’s spot as Australian captain



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




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T20 World Cup: Australian star set for return after England axing



An Australian all-rounder looks likely to return to Justin Langer’s starting side after he was dropped for the Aussies’ horror show against England.

Mitchell Marsh will “heavily come into consideration” for Australia’s next T20 World Cup clash against Bangladesh as assistant coach Andrew McDonald and the rest of the coaching staff plot a re-jig of the squad.

The star all-rounder was left out of the starting line-up in Australia’s crushing loss to England as Ashton Agar took his place, which McDonald explained was purely for selection purposes and nothing to do with a potential injury to Marsh.

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Agar made the most of his chance, finishing with 20 runs – the second highest total of the Australian batting order – and boasting Australia’s strongest bowling figures for the match of 1/15 off nearly three overs.

While Agar certainly made his case to retain his spot in the line-up, McDonald believes Marsh’s impressive showings in a dismal series against Bangladesh deserve to be taken into account when the coaches sit down and prepare the line-up.

“He’s (Marsh) at full fitness,” McDonald said. “He was available for selection last game.

“There was no injury concerns around Mitch; he was fully capable to play his role in the last game and wasn’t selected.

“He’ll be back on the selection table and if there is a shift back to the structure of the first two games, then it’s probably likely he’ll get the nod among those seven batters.

“He’s been a good servant over the past 12 months, had some great form lines against the West Indies and Bangladesh.

“He’ll heavily come into consideration for the next game, there’s no doubt about that.”

Across Australia’s recent T20 series against Bangladesh, Marsh averaged 31.2 with the bat in five games, which included a half-century in the third match between the two.

However, he failed to fire for Australia in its World Cup opener against South Africa, mustering up just 11 runs from third spot in the batting order.

A slight shift saw the 30-year-old drop to sixth in the order for the Aussies’ win over Sri Lanka, but his services were not required, as Justin Langer’s side won by seven wickets.

With a crucial match against Bangladesh looming, Marsh’s strong numbers against them in their T20 series could prove to be key.

Bangladesh is yet to win a game in the Super 12 stage of the World Cup, but given Australia was on the wrong side of a 4-1 series scoreline when the two sides played a T20 series in August, it would be silly to count them out.

Originally published as Mitchell Marsh set for return to starting line-up after England axing




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World Cup; Australia won’t shy away from big selection calls after axing Ashton Agar



Changing conditions on wickets set to take a pounding at the T20 World Cup could make for some big selection calls.

Changing conditions at the T20 World Cup could demand significant team changes and the prospect every member of Australia’s 15-man squad could get a game.

Coach Justin Langer declared it was “extremely tough” to leave out spinner Ashton Agar, Australia’s highest-ranked T20 bowler in the world, for the opening win over South Africa.

Captain Aaron Finch said it was “brutally tough”.

It was a conditions and match-ups-based decision that came after Agar had played seven straight games, plus the two warm-up matches, bowling in tandem with fellow spinner Adam Zampa.

Game one hero Marcus Stoinis said there was “an argument for everyone to be in the team“ and fully expected that as wickets became tired across the three venues being used, change could be a must.

”There’s no easy answers and we’ll probably just see what happens as the tournament goes on. I think everyone’s going to get used in this tournament,” he said.

“With these conditions, we’ve got to adapt as we go. He (Agar) has got such a good record, has been so good for us, so I wouldn’t be counting anything out.”

Langer said Australia had to be flexible in selections depending on conditions, opposition and match-ups, which could give Kane Richardson, Mitchell Swepson and Josh Inglis game time through the remaining four pool games and potentially in the finals.

Australia used Glenn Maxwell as its second spinner, ahead of Agar, and while the fast bowlers took five wickets in the opening win over South Africa, spin could be huge in the back end of the tournament.

“They’re all tough (selection) decisions. There’s no doubt about that,” Langer said.

“We’ve said from day one to the players and we did it in the last World Cup and to a degree in the last Ashes in England, we’ll just look at the conditions, we’ll look at the opposition, we’ll look at the match-ups, and we’ll make the call that we think is right for the team.

“It doesn’t always work out that way, but with all the information we’ve got we’ll work through that.”

Langer said leaving out Agar was especially tough.

“I can’t emphasise enough how tough it was on Ashton Agar, his numbers are literally outstanding,” he said. “And really tough on Kane Richardson.

“It’s nice to have those selection headaches, but it worked OK yesterday (Sunday).”

Australia plays its next game against Sri Lanka on Thursday night in Dubai.

Originally published as Australia could use every member of its T20 squad at the World Cup after opening game selection shock




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