Former Test wicketkeeper Ian Healy has called for Pat Cummins to give up the Test captaincy, saying the captaincy was a “burden”.
With Aaron Finch stepping down from international cricket, it creates vacancies in the white-ball leadership setup, which Cummins has partially assumed in replacing Finch as ODI captain to go along with the Test captaincy.
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“I don’t want him carrying the burden of so much captaincy for too long,” Healy said on SENQ’s Pat and Heals.
“I want him to finish (as just a bowler),” he said.
“The captaincy creates a burnout and four to five years is a long time as a captain.
“He’s done a few years (as Test captain) already, now he’s adding (short-form captaincy) to his thought processes at a time when he’s dealing with some sort of family illness back home.
“So yeah, I would like to see him finish his career as a tearaway fast bowler and someone else with the captaincy burden.”
The primary issue, Healy said, is that there is very little by way of leadership talent in a position to take the reigns.
“I think Travis Head is quite capable,” he said.
“He’s led South Australia since he was a 21-year-old, he’s quite capable and has got a lot of experience.”
“He’s the main one that stands out to me.
“The likes of Glenn Maxwell might be able to do parts of it (in the short form), but as far as longer-term captaincy prospects other than Travis Head, I can’t think (of any).”
Healy’s remarks were made amidst Cummins’ return to Australia between the second and third Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to deal with a family illness.
After the remarks, Cummins announced he would miss the third Test, explaining in a statement that his mother is “ill and in palliative care”.
Vice-captain Steve Smith will take over captaincy duties for the third Test and possibly also the final Test in Ahmedabad, depending on Cummins’ return.
The third Test marks the third time Smith has taken the captaincy reins during Cummins’ tenure as Test skipper.
Speaking after the second Test, Cummins was hopeful that a “a bit of a refresh” would spur a turnaround for his side and better application from the batters.
“That’s quite an experienced change room, a few of the batters have scored runs in similar conditions before, they found a way,” he said.
“So absolutely, it’s still a series to draw.”
Injured Cameron Green has declared himself “100 per cent ready to go” for the third Test of the series, in a huge boost to Australia’s bowling stocks, alongside Mitchell Starc who is expected to return as Cummins’ replacement.
Meanwhile, with the Australian batting of the most concern, Sandpapergate villain Cameron Bancroft has emerged as the standout contender to change the national team’s fortunes, plundering an unbeaten 176 as Western Australia thrashed Tasmania in Hobart.
Bancroft has scored 767 runs at 63.91 this season, leading the Sheffield Shield runs tally.
Bancroft made his Test debut in November 2017 after a Sheffield Shield season that saw him average 110.50 over six innings, including an unbeaten 228 not out against South Australia, but has not played Test cricket since his involvement in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal that saw Steve Smith and David Warner suspended from the game for a year.