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Contenders to be next Australian captain; Steve Smith, Pat Cummins, Marnus Labuschagne, Ashes, news, updates


Tim Paine has stood down as Australia’s Test skipper just as dramatically as he stepped into the role following sandpapergate in 2018.

Paine has been embroiled in a texting scandal and the saga opens the door for either a new captain or the resurrection of the man he replaced.

It’s a major scandal on the eve of a home Ashes and Paine’s replacement will have to galvanise the squad ahead of the first Test on December 8.

Here are the contenders to replace Paine.

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PAT CUMMINS

A bowler has not captained the Australian Test side since Richie Benaud in 1964.

Cummins is the current vice-captain and has previously declared his interest in one day taking on the prestigious role.

“Absolutely,” Cummins said earlier this year.

“At the moment I haven’t got too much experience at all, just a couple of warm-up games in England and other than that it’s Under-16s cricket when I last captained

“So for sure it’s something that’s going to be more on the radar.”

Cummins, 28, has long been considered the next Test captain and has been endorsed by several former skippers.

“Patty’s ready for it. I love that they’ve given him the full-time vice-captaincy,” Michael Clarke said last year.

“For me it‘s the right person for the job that’s the most important, not whether you’re a batter or bowler.”

Smith, Cummins and Labuschagne.Source: FOX SPORTS

STEVE SMITH

It would be one of the greatest comebacks in Australian sporting history if Smith returns as Test captain.

Smith left the captaincy in disgrace following the ball-tampering scandal in March, 2018.

The batsman copped a 12-month suspension and was banned from captaining any side for two years so it would be a big move to reinstate him on the back of another scandal.

Smith was sensational during the 2019 Ashes without the burden of captaining the side and some argue he’s better off focusing on batting.

The 32-year-old’s pride was badly wounded over sandpapergate and he admitted earlier this year he’d like to captain the side again one day.

“I’ve certainly had a lot of time to think about it and I guess now I’ve got to a point where if the opportunity did come up again I would be keen,” Smith said.

“If it was what Cricket Australia wanted and it was what was best for the team at the time, it’s certainly something I would be interested in now, that’s for sure.

“I’m always going to have to live with Cape Town regardless of whether I lead again or not. It’s always there.”

MARNUS LABUSCHAGNE

The quirky young batsman who is famously obsessed with cricket has captaineded several underage Queensland teams and is expected to lead the country one day.

Labuschagne has probably forgotten more about cricket than most people will ever know – his knowledge of the game is supreme.

But it would still be a risk for officials to make the 27-year-old and one of Australia’s youngest Test captains in history.

Former player Andrew Symonds said this week he doesn’t believe Labuschagne is ready for captaincy just yet.

“I would say he’d be well aware that’s one of the biggest things he’s got to work on is his maturity,” Symonds said.

“I was a culprit of it as well. There’s a time for a joke and there’s obviously a time to knuckle down and be serious. What he’s got to do is just find the right balance I suppose. I’m confident he’ll be able to do that.

“If he has aspirations to captain I’m sure give him another a couple of years you’ll probably see a big difference in his maturity.”



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