Australian men’s cricket coach Justin Langer will be left out of the committee that picks Tim Paine’s replacement as Test captain.
Cricket Australia said that selectors George Bailey and Tony Dodemaide, as well as CA board member Mel Jones, CEO Nick Hockley and chair Richard Freudenstein will make up the decision-making quintet.
Langer’s omission is intriguing. His contract as national coach is due to expire mid-next year, and it’s been speculated he may quit after the Ashes.
Fast bowler Pat Cummins is the front-runner for the role, with former captain Steve Smith and Queensland standout Marnus Labuschagne the other contenders.
After serving a one-year playing ban and a two-year leadership ban, Smith is once again eligible to lead Australia and CA chair Richard Freudenstein said the 32-year-old would be considered for the role.
“There is going to be a very thorough, and now quite quick, process,” he told reporters in a press conference alongside Hockley on Saturday.
Paine endorsed Labuschagne as a potential successor, saying: “He’s got leadership in him, there’s no doubt about that – the way he goes about it, the way he treats people, the way he works on his game… with some time (he) will become an excellent leader for this squad.
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“He’s got some real natural leadership ability and if that’s harnessed and helped, I think he’ll be a great captain.”
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But it’s Cummins who seems most likely to get the nod – he’s the current vice-captain, is well-liked and his spot in the team is under no threat whatsoever.
Two former captains – Greg Chappell and Steve Waugh – gave their endorsement to Cummins over the weekend.
“There’s a bit more responsibility and some people really enjoy that and embrace it and some people find it a burden. But I think with Pat Cummins, he’ll embrace it,” Waugh said.
No timeline has been set for when the new captain will be confirmed, but the decision is expected to be made in the next few days.
Australia’s Ashes series against England begins at the Gabba on December 8.
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