Tim Paine picks middle-order batsman to be future Australia captain
- Vice-captain and pace bowling spearhead Pat Cummins is a natural choice to succeed Tim Paine as Australia's Test captain.
Australian Test captain Tim Paine is looking forward to upcoming Ashes series against England later this year, which is going to be a huge test for him and his team.
Paine has been under the pump since losing a second consecutive home series to India earlier this year and failing to make it to the final of the World Test Championship. He knows his time at the helm of affairs is limited now and there is already a lot of talk surrounding who would take over as the next Aussie Test captain.
While former captain Steve Smith is a big contender to get the job back, there are many who feel it will be a step back for Australian cricket. Vice-captain and pace bowling spearhead Pat Cummins is a natural choice for Paine's successor.
Paine recently told reporters that he thinks middle-order batsman Marnus Labuschagne could be a good leader.
Since his debut against Pakistan in 2018, Labuschagne, 26, has grown in stature in the Australian set-up and is currently the third-ranked batsman in Test cricket. He is also the highest run-getter in the World Test Championship.
"I think he'd be a good (leader)," Paine told reporters from Brisbane on Monday.
"Marnus is a great thinker of the game. He's a good team man, he's got so much enthusiasm for his team and the game."
Paine has been impressed by Labuschagne's enthusiasm and expects the prolific batsman to play a bigger role in the near future.
"In terms of our cricket team improving and Marnus evolving, I think in the next couple of years we'll definitely see him take the step up," he added.
"He's got some real natural leadership ability and if that's harnessed and helped, I think he'll be a great captain."
Paine took over as test captain in 2018 when he replaced Steve Smith, who was banned from international cricket for 12 months and suspended from leadership roles for two years for his role in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal.
Paine also gave his backing to coach Justin Langer, whose coaching style has, according to media reports, resulted in some dressing room discontent.
"We had a team review at the end of the Indian series which is pretty common practice in professional sports," Paine said, adding that Langer, or 'JL', had been doing a good job at a difficult time.
"We all feel now as a team we want to evolve and improve and JL's a part of that," he added.
"It's not him by himself, it's all of the coaching staff and all our players."
(With Reuters input)