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Michael Clarke wants Pat Cummins to become Australia’s next captain over Steve Smith


Former Australia captain Michael Clarke, left (Picture: Getty)

Michael Clarke has backed Pat Cummins to become Australia’s next captain over Steve Smith.

Current skipper Tim Paine has been praised for steadying the ship since the ball-tampering scandal in 2018 but, at the age of 36, he is coming to the end of his international career.

Steve Smith, who was in charge during Australia’s Cape Town scandal, has recently admitted he would be ‘keen’ to return as captain, but Clarke believes Cummins is the ‘right guy’ to take over.

Cummins has developed into a key player for Australia in Test and ODI cricket in recent years and gained captaincy experience for New South Wales.

‘Just because Cummins isn’t out there saying “I should be the next captain and I’m ready”… it doesn’t mean he’s not a good leader,’ Clarke said on the Big Sports Breakfast show.

‘I’ve made it clear what I think about Pat Cummins. I think he’s shown he’s fit and strong enough to play all three formats now, he’s done that for the last few years.

‘I’ve watched his captaincy and tactics for New South Wales and it’s been pretty good. Yes, he’s young and inexperienced as a leader but he’ll have good senior players around him.

Clarke believes Pat Cummins, left, should be Australia’s next captain (Picture: Getty)

‘I do believe Pat Cummins is the right guy to take over the leadership in all three formats at the right time. Of course, he will need a good vice-captain.

‘If Tim Paine retires then someone like Alex Carey, who has captained South Australia and captained in the BBL, he would make a very good vice-captain.

‘You’ve got the likes of Steve Smith, David Warner, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne… All these guys have got leadership experience as well. They can help Pat Cummins.’

Despite preferring Cummins over Smith as Australia’s next captain, Clarke believes former skipper Smith can still have a ‘huge role’ in the team from a leadership perspective.

‘You don’t necessarily need to have the captain or vice-captain armband to be a leader,’ former Australia star Clarke added.

Steve Smith is ‘keen’ to return as skipper (Picture: Getty)

‘Smithy is going to play a huge role in the Australian team moving forward, whether he takes over the captaincy or not, his leadership is going to be important.

‘If Pat Cummins gets the job, that is the first guy I would be going to and speaking to. He’s going to need his support.

‘I think Australia do have options, they are in a wonderful place. They’ve just got to have the confidence to pick the right person, back him, and put some support around him.’

Australia were beaten at home by India at the start of 2021. Last month, they lost 3-2 in a Twenty20 international series against New Zealand.

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