Pat Cummins would be the first frontline bowler since Richie Benaud to be skipper.
Pat Cummins would be the first frontline bowler since Richie Benaud to be skipper.

Aussies to turn captaincy succession on its head

FAST bowler Pat Cummins is just an injury to Tim Paine away from captaining Australia in a Test match.

But his fellow vice-captain Travis Head has declared he's ready and willing to step in to the breach.

Cummins, the reigning Allan Border medallist, and Head were retained as vice-captains for the Ashes after being elevated during the Test series against Sri Lanka.

But while they are both in line to take over from Paine should anything happen to him, selection chairman Trevor Hohns said they would be more inclined for Cummins to take the reins.

"If anything were to happen to Tim on a day, we would probably have to make a call on that. At this stage possibly it would be Pat Cummins," he said.

Head, the South Australia skipper, said there had been no discussions about who would take over, but that he would be "comfortable" should he have to fill-in for Paine.

"If that's what they see fit, then great - I think I can do it," the 25-year-old said in Birmingham.

"We haven't had much clarity over what Cummo and my roles will be.

Travis Head has put his hand up for the role.
Travis Head has put his hand up for the role.

"We know what we roles are, but we're not quite sure yet what would happen - I think I read somewhere that Cummo would do it. If that's what's needed, then that's what's needed.

"I think I can help the team move forward and win games if I'm needed, so if that's in the vice-captain's role or the captain's role - whatever role that is, I feel like I can do a job for the team."

Head, who captained the Brad Haddin XII in last week's intra-squad clash in Southampton, said his view on leadership had been refined to making players feel as comfortable as possible to play their role.

"I think in the last few years I've really taken a good focus, just making sure that my role is no bigger than anyone else's and just ticking off all the boxes for the boys, and just being there and creating a really good environment," he said.

"Being really calm and consistent in the way I go about things, and trying to make it as good an environment as I possibly can.

Tim Paine inspects the Edgbaston pitch as the first Test looms large.
Tim Paine inspects the Edgbaston pitch as the first Test looms large.

"And if games are getting a little bit out of hand, we can make sure that we're calm and in control.

"So hopefully, I can bring that really levelled environment and level head out in the middle, and try and be a helping hand."

Australia has only had 46 Test captains in over 140 years of history. Richie Benaud was the last front-line bowler to captain the Test team, which he did in 28 games.

The captaincy black hole within the Australian team has been a matter of conjecture for some time.

Former skipper Steve Smith can't hold a leadership position until March next year, under the terms of his suspension.

David Warner, who was VC, is banned from the captaincy for life.

Usman Khawaja, who captains Queensland, West Australia skipper Mitch Marsh and Matthew Wade, who took over at Tasmania, are the other state leaders in the squad.