He has so far only led Australia in two ODIs since his appointment last October.
With Cummins struggling as a bowler and captain at Old Trafford,
Pat Cummins has stated that he may not captain Australia in every one-day international before the World Cup in India later this year.
There will be a three-week respite following the final Test for the multi-format players engaged in the Ashes, but it won’t be long before the focus changes to white-ball cricket.
A T20I and ODI tour to South Africa begins in late August, with the squad anticipated to be announced shortly after the final Test in England, followed by three one-dayers in India, and finally the World Cup.
Following the retirement of Aaron Finch, Cummins was named ODI captain last October. Since then, Australia has only played six matches in the format, with Cummins appearing in only two of them. When Cummins was away due to his mother’s death, Josh Hazlewood took over as captain for one game against England, and then Steven Smith took over for the series in India.
With Cummins struggling as a bowler and captain at Old Trafford, doubts have been raised about whether the workload is manageable, but he is confident about how the position will evolve over the next few months as the emphasis shifts.
“I know the selectors have been really clear that I’m a bowler first in that team,” he remarked. “So, if we need to manage some of those games leading up to the World Cup, that takes precedence over being captain every single game.”
“We’ll manage it, but we have a great team of players and staff around us, so even though I’m the captain and have a bigger workload, it’s manageable.”
When Cummins was named captain, national selector George Bailey predicted it. “In our one-day team, we do feel like we’ve got some strong leaders, some really experienced members of the team, and some developing leaders,” Bailey said. “So, regardless of Pat’s presence, I believe we are moving away from the concept of a captain taking over and providing all-encompassing leadership.”
Cummins’ ODI captaincy is set to terminate at the end of the World Cup, with the selectors potentially looking to unite the white-ball leadership under one individual.
There has yet to be a replacement named for Finch as T20 captain, and it is possible that whoever leads the side against South Africa is only an interim appointment before a permanent structure is put in place later in the year to lead into the 2024 T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the United States.
Meanwhile, in Test cricket, Cummins is nearing the end of his two-year captaincy, and when he was announced in late 2021, he hinted that he might not stay as long as some expected. However, if he stays for another couple of years, it would likely coincide with the start of the side’s regeneration as older players begin to retire, with the possibility of a considerable number leaving in quick succession.
David Warner has stated that he will go early next year, but Cummins is not in a hurry to rush others out the door, certain that successors will be easily available when needed.
“I certainly don’t want to rush anyone out the door,” he explained. “I believe this is about the fourth Ashes series, and Jimmy Anderson has stated that it will be his last.” You just never know. It’s just a matter of time. Some of these players may be here in four years and still be at the peak of their game. We’ll see what happens.
“There is always a conversation.” In cricket, we’re fortunate to have white-ball cricket, which provides a soft entrance point for many of the players and exposes them to international cricket. It’s something the selectors discuss, but in reality, you strive to pick your best XI each week.”
Unless the selectors opt to draw a line ahead of the three Tests against Pakistan beginning in December, finding a successor for Warner will be the first big order of business for the series against the West Indies in mid-January.
Marcus Harris, who was the spare batter during Australia’s home summer and this Ashes tour, could be first in line, though Warner has given Matt Renshaw his full support.
“I’ve always thought Matt Renshaw is a very good player,” Warner added. “He can easily play both formats.” He’s quite tall. He resembles Haydos [Matt Hayden]. We discussed him in the early stages of his career.
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