Australia may not have played any cricket since losing the home Test series to India earlier this year but the resurgence of Sandpaper Gate and the never-ending debate around who should take over Australia’s Test captaincy from Tim Paine has made sure they have always hogged the limelight.
Despite there being no formal announcement from Cricket Australia or any indication of quitting from current Test captain Paine, former Australian cricket and experts are more or less certain that it is only a matter of time before the wicketkeeper makes way for a new captain. But who will that be? Will CA bring Steve Smith back at the helm? Former Australia batsman Mark Waugh believes ‘there are only two choices’ – Smith and all-rounder Pat Cummins.
“I think when Tim Paine finishes, which could be after the Ashes, I think there are only two choices: Pat Cummins and Steve Smith,” Waugh told Fox Cricket’s Road to the Ashes Podcast.
Smith was the captain of Australia in all three formats when the Durban Test match in Australia back in 2018 rocked Australian cricket. Smith, Warner and Bancroft’s involvement in the ball-tampering episode kept them away from cricket for a year (9 months in the case of Bancroft).
Smith was stripped of his captaincy and it was announced he won’t be considered for the leadership role for at least two years.
Times have changed, Smith, who is Australia’s best Test batsman, has made a strong comeback to the side and presented himself as one of the frontrunners to take over from Paine.
Waugh, however, believes Cummins’ rapid rise in international cricket makes him ‘favourite’ to be the next Australian captain.
“That’s our field of choices and I don’t think the selectors will steer too far clear of that.
“There are no other candidates from what I can see unless someone jumps out of the ground. But I’d say Pat Cummins is favourite to be captain, Steve Smith vice-captain,” he said.