Ashes 2021-22: Australian Test captain Pat Cummins adamant he will have ‘final say’ on key decisions
Australia’s leadership duo of Pat Cummins and Steve Smith go way back, but despite the latter already having experience as Test skipper, Cummins insists he’ll “be having the final say as captain”.
Cummins was elevated from his previous role as vice-captain after Tim Paine resigned from the post after a series of lewd texts surfaced.
Smith himself was previously captain, but was handed a 12-month leadership and playing ban as a result of his role in the infamous sandpaper scandal in 2018.
The NSW duo were officially announced as the leaders for the Australian Test team on November 26, although sceptics were quick to believe Smith would have a heavy influence on team matters despite his position as second-in-command.
Both men share a strong bond on and off the pitch, and although Cummins knows he has plenty of experience to lean on in his right-hand man, it’s ultimately the fast bowler’s show to manage.
“Smithy and I have been really good mates for a long time,” Cummins said.
“When I just turned 18, he lived in the city and I lived back at home, so I would sleep on his couch occasionally to save the driving.
“He’s great; he’s a legend of the game. Tactically, really switched on. Good ideas, always coming up with different ideas as Test captain of 30-odd Test matches for us, so of course I’ll be leaning on him.
“I’ll be having the final say as captain, but I’ll be looking to him for ideas at times.
“In terms of handing over to Steve, I think it will become clear when I’m out there if I need to.
“Not saying I’ll always be doing that, or I need to do that all the time.
“But there will be times when it’s hot or I need a rest and I’ll have no problem handing over to him.
“As I’ve said previously, you might see him moving fielders and having a bit more say than potentially you’ve seen before on a field, which is great.”
Australia, and indeed the world, will get its first look at Cummins as captain on Wednesday as the Ashes finally commence.
While his on-field decisions will be there for all to see, what about the 28-year-old’s off-field methods?
It’s unsure what they exactly are, but according to the man himself, they’ll likely resemble how Aaron Finch led the team in its triumphant T20 World Cup campaign.
“I’ve really enjoyed being vice-captain under Finchy the last two or three years,” Cummins said.
“I think the environment we created in the World Cup is a blueprint.
“It’s slightly different in T20 and Test cricket with the demands, but the relaxed environment empowered everyone to do it in their own way.
“You see a really tailored preparation for the first Test; we’ve seen bowlers stay at home, you’ve seen batters face centre-wicket bowlers at different venues, while others just wanted to bat here in the nets at the Gabba.
“I think they’re great lessons we learned at the World Cup, and we’d like to continue that.”
Originally published as Ashes: Pat Cummins adamant he will have ‘final say’ on key decisions
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