Former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist has declared Pat Cummins is the “obvious choice” to replace Aaron Finch as national ODI captain despite growing calls for David Warner’s lifelong leadership ban to be overturned.
Finch announced his retirement from the 50-over format over the weekend, leaving Australia without a men’s ODI captain ahead of next year’s World Cup in India.
Cummins, who led Australia to an Ashes triumph last summer, is the leading candidate to replace Finch, but the talented paceman does not want anything to disrupt his Test captaincy.
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“Being a captain in all three formats, if you had to play every game, is just not realistic,” he told News Corp reporters at Kayo’s summer of cricket launch at the SCG on Tuesday morning.
“If it comes up and it works, it would obviously be a huge privilege, but if not, it’s totally fine.
“I don’t want anything to take away from my role as Test captain, so there’d be a bit to work through.”
Due to the oversaturated cricket schedule, it has become increasingly difficult for professional players to commit to all three formats — particularly pace bowlers.
But Gilchrist is adamant Cummins can juggle the captaincy across formats, praising the 29-year-old’s leadership in Australian whites over the past 10 months.
“I think it would make sense, as long as workload was not an issue, for Pat to do it if he was keen to do it,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“History shows that if you’ve got continuity across all formats, if you’re in a fortunate position to have one person that can do it all, why not?
“Everything he’s done so far, he’s done in a controlled, measured, balanced manner and he seems to be handling it all really well, all the various responsibilities.
“That would be my initial gut feel, but rest assured there’s enough knowledge there, there’s enough experience there across a number of guys.
“But I think Pat’s the obvious choice, should he be keen to do it.”
Cummins acknowledged that if he was offered the ODI captaincy, he’d rely heavily on a deputy to step in when Test commitments intervene.
The New South Welshman missed Australia’s recent white-ball series against Zimbabwe and New Zealand, resting the body ahead of another busy summer of cricket.
“If the captaincy goes to a bowler and there are times that you need to prioritise other formats, a vice-captain could step in – whether it’s a keeper or a batter,” he explained.
“It’s probably different to what we’ve all grown up watching, the way that captains and teams operate, but the reality is there’s a lot more cricket nowadays in the schedule.
“We play 12 months of the year, three different formats. It might look differently, depending on how you structure it.”
Cummins has been an outspoken advocate for Warner rejoining the leadership group, but the veteran opener was banned from any captaincy positions following the Cape Town ball-tampering incident of 2018.
Warner, who led Australia in three ODIs in 2016, is more than willing to talk with CA about overturning his lifetime captaincy ban — the 35-year-old plans to meet with CA chief executive Nick Hockley in the coming weeks.
“I’m expecting they will make him eligible (to captain) again, that’s without any inside information, but just the way it’s been played out,” Gilchrist said.
“There’s been a lot of public discussion about it, even from David himself and Cricket Australia, so I don’t think it’ll be a shock if they maybe reconsider that position.
“And then it comes down to Cricket Australia, what they want to do with that position.
“A lot’s happened since (Cape Town) … he was dealt some really significantly tough penalties, which he carried out and didn’t complain about and he’s just gone about his business.
“I think everyone feels time heals, and people should be given another chance if they identify what the issues were and try to learn and push forward.”
Warner, who remains a leader within the Australian team in an unofficial capacity, expects Cummins to be offered the ODI captaincy in November.
“Obviously Pat has the Test captaincy, and he will be offered the job if he wants to take it and rightfully so,” he said.
“I think I have a lot of leadership qualities. And I know what I bring to the table as a leader, and I’ve still got that position anyway amongst the group.
“We all know each other so well, we all have a great knowledge of the game. So for us it’s about how do we use all that knowledge together and win games.
“I don’t think it’s about being given a second chance. I think it’s just about me just knuckling down and do what I’ve had to do which is playing cricket and scoring runs.
“I think that’s the main thing, coming back but still being a leader amongst my peers, leading by example on and off the field. I’ve showcased that very well.”