Why not Pat Cummins as Australia’s captain?

Australia has produced an array of wily fast bowlers, but the last specialist paceman to adorn the role of captain (albeit in a stand-in capacity) was Ray Lindwall on the 1956-57 tour of India. Pat Cummins could be the next, and former paceman Geoff Lawson would be pleased if his fellow New South Welshman is the one who replaces Tim Paine. Paine resigned as Test captain last week in the wake of the sexting scandal that has derailed Australia’s 2021-22 home Ashes build-up.

Pat Cummins with Geoff Lawson at Sydney in 2017

“I’ve been advocating his captaincy for a while. I think he has all the characteristics to be the next captain and I am a bit flummoxed when I hear people say that the only reason why he shouldn’t be captain is because he is a fast bowler,” Lawson told mid-day from Sydney on Monday. Lawson, 63, claimed 180 Test wickets for Australia in 46 matches. He also captained New South Wales towards the end of his first-class career in late 1980s and early 1990s. He was Pakistan coach for a while.

“Pat plays all forms of the game and he’s the No.1 fast bowler in Test cricket. He’s got the experience, the intellect. During his injury period, he went off and got a University degree in business. He has got a wider view of the game. Over the last two decades, Australia has had some captains who have had some very narrow life experiences. Pat has got a wider view of the game—their cricket and nothing else,” said Lawson.

In the hurly-burly world of international cricket, Cummins has also found time to be involved with his club Penrith. “He comes from a pretty down-to-earth family, he’s pretty tied up with his club when he’s available and that’s a good sign. It’s important to be attached to the grassroots of the game and understand that cricket is not just about playing for your state, IPL (Indian Premier League) franchise or your country. It’s got a wider base and Pat has got a good grasp of that,” remarked Lawson.

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