In a historic move, Cricket Australia appointed pacer Pat Cummins as Test captain for the upcoming Ashes series against England. His appointment comes after Tim Paine stepped down due to his involvement in sexting scandal. Steve Smith was named his deputy.
Welcoming the decision, Australia great Ricky Ponting spoke about the different pressures Cummins will have to shoulder and how important will Smith’s role as a deputy.
In a cautionary tone, Ponting said that Cummins’ biggest challenge as Test captain will be his own humility. “Whether he will be willing to bowl himself for as long and as often as the team needs,” will be the captain’s biggest hurdle.
“There were times I reckon last summer when they just had to keep bowling Pat,” Ponting explained to cricket.com.au. “In Sydney and Brisbane, there were long spells when he looked the most likely to get wickets.
“The only concern I have is if it’s the same again, where Pat’s the standout fast bowler, is he going to keep bowling himself? Because the team is going to need it.
“Or will he be worried about what people are going to think if he just keeps himself on the whole time?
“That’s where vice captain’s role is really important in this whole thing,
“Because it might go the other way that he doesn’t bowl himself enough because he’s getting physically tired.
“But sometimes you need someone to push your or direct you, and that’s where I think the vice-captain is going to be important.”
Ponting further opined that in Smith, the pacer will have an experienced leader at his side.
Ponting further added that Cummins played an important part in discussions with Justin Langer and Tim Paine following dressing room troubles.
“I’m hearing a lot of good things about how Pat’s leadership has really shone through with some of the stuff around Justin and a lot of the conversations that happened there,” said Ponting.
“There were some honest conversations with some of the senior players back towards Justin, I think that’s been well documented.
“The way he handled himself and handled that whole situation was what you’d expect from a leader, and someone who can captain the country.”