Former Australia captain Michael Clarke said that fast bowler Pat Cummins is the ideal candidate to take over as the team's skipper in all formats of the game. The post of Australia's captain has been in the news recently due to batsman and former skipper Steve Smith saying that he is ready to take up the responsibility whenever he is required to.
"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 told Big Sports Breakfast.
"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. His captaincy I've watched tactically for New South Wales he's been pretty good," said Clarke.
Australia have been led by Tim Paine in Tests and Aaron Finch in limited overs since Smith was ousted from the post in the wake of the 2018 ball-tampering scandal. Clarke said that while Cummins, 27, is young and inexperienced as a leader, he will have experienced players around him to help him out, including Smith.
"Yes he's young and inexperienced as a leader but he'll have good senior players around him so to me 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. An example of that -- if (current Test captain) Tim Paine retires then someone like Alex Carey comes in, who has captained South Australia, captained (in) the BBL (Big Bash League), been vice-captain of Australia. I think 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," he said.
Clarke, who captained Australia in 47 Tests, 74 ODIs and 18 T20Is between 2007 and 2015 and led Australia to victory in the 2015 World Cup, said that regardless of whether Smith becomes captain of the team again or not, the talismanic batsman will always have an important role to play in the dressing room.
"You don't necessarily need to have the captain or vice-captain armband to be a leader and I feel like I say that every single day. 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," said Clarke.
"If Pat Cummins gets the job, (Smith) is the first guy I would be going to and speaking to. He's going to need his support. I think Australia does 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," he added.