Clarke picks unlikely candidate for Australia captaincy over Smith


Michael Clarke has backed Pat Cummins to become Australia’s next captain across all three formats as he doesn’t think Steve Smith is the right man for the job.

Smith was sacked as Australia skipper and banned for 12 months for his part in the ball-tampering scandal in 2018.

And the 30-year-old has been tipped to become Australia captain for the second time in his career but legendary batsman Clarke believes Australia should opt for Cummins instead.

“In sport in this country we have a sense of the best player needs to be the captain,’ former Australia captain Clarke said on Big Sports Breakfast.

“I don’t agree with that. I think the best captain needs to be the captain. Steve Smith is Australia’s best batsman but I don’t necessarily think he is the right man to captain Australia.

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“I know there has always been a lot of talk about a bowler being captain and generally that is because the bowlers get injured.

“Pat Cummins has shown that he is fit, he is healthy, he can play all three formats. His body has now matured into a position where he will be on the field as much as any batsman.

“He reads the game really well. Yes, he is an opening bowler but he can bat. He is brilliant in the field. He sees the game how a captain needs to see the game.

“I think there is probably a great opportunity if Steve is offered that chance to actually decline it because of those reasons. He is our best player but he can be a captain without that ‘c’ beside his name.”

Clarke also suggested that Paine should relinquish the captaincy following Australia’s series against India at the end of the year, a series BetMGM were predicting to be closely fought, but were wrong on this occasion.

“Tim Paine has done a wonderful job. There is no doubt about it. He has earnt the right to continue to captain Australia until it is time for him to retire,” Clarke added.

“If Australia can win that [Border-Gavaskar series] that is an ideal time for Tim to walk away on top and for all of us that love the game to respect what he has been able to achieve as a captain.”