Pat Cummins was chuffed to hear Tim Paine rates him as a contender to be Australia’s next Test captain, but the gun paceman says the topic remains a moot point while the keeper is still playing.
Former skipper Michael Clarke has long been pushing for Cummins to lead the national side, having started his campaign in 2018 even before the Cape Town cheating scandal erupted.
Paine has since entrenched himself in the Test XI and played a key role in the improvement of Australia’s off-field reputation and on-field performances.
But discussions about who should lead Australia whenever the 35-year-old retires are ongoing, having flared up this week after Steve Smith’s leadership ban expired.
Paine was diplomatic on Tuesday when asked who should be the next captain, noting there are “a number of guys we can choose from” then nominating Smith, Cummins, Travis Head, Alex Carey and Marnus Labuschagne.
“It’s nice to hear, don’t think it makes me want it more or less,” Cummins told reporters.
“I’m glad being a vice-captain underneath him that I get that nod.
“Like I’ve said a hundred times before, I kind of feel it’s not quite right talking about captaincy now when we’ve got someone like Painey and Finchy (limited-overs captain Aaron Finch) doing great jobs. We’ll see down the track, but at the moment it’s bit of a moot point.”
Cummins is expected to top Cricket Australia’s contract list for 2020-21 whenever it is announced, underling his importance to Justin Langer’s team.
The 26-year-old has become the most resilient member of the attack after an injury-plagued start to his career.
Cummins was appointed one of Paine’s deputies last year, but currently has no captaincy experience at domestic level.
“In the perfect world, your first experience of being captain – say Australian captain, you’ve (already) had quite a bit of experience leading and you know exactly what it entails,” the superstar said.
“But things don’t always work out as exactly as you planned.
“You don’t want to tread on anyone’s toes. Especially someone like Nevvy (Peter Nevill), who has just won a Sheffield Shield for NSW.”