If Pat Cummins’ inspirational leadership, outstanding skills and model conduct on and off the field doesn’t inspire his peers, then they are in the “wrong game”, said one of Australia’s greatest ever skippers Ian Chappell.
Cummins, in six months’ time, has retained the Ashes, won the World Test Championship and the biggest of them all — ODI World Cup in India.
“Any cricketer who isn’t inspired by Cummins is in the wrong game,” Chappell wrote in his column for ‘ESPN Cricinfo‘.
“Cummins was always going to be a good captain. Overlooking for a moment the difficulties of being a fast-bowling skipper, he was easily the most inspirational player in the Australian team, and one blessed with cricketing common sense,” he further wrote.
Some of the biggest names in contemporary cricket wear fake aggression, mindless sledging like second skin but that’s where Cummins scores with his performance and solid personality.
“….It is refreshing to watch Cummins and his team in action. Cummins’ side is often spoken about as an ultra-aggressive Australian unit minus the ugly side effects.
“I’d put Cummins in the same bracket as Mark Waugh and Anil Kumble – fierce competitors who convey their intentions purely by their actions.
“Shooting your mouth off doesn’t make you a tough player; quite often, it’s exactly the opposite,” said Chappell, one of the most respected voices in world cricket.
Often captains themselves need to put up a grand performance to earn plaudits and Cummins does that repeatedly on biggest stages.
“In addition, Cummins is an outstanding fast bowler with a big heart, and has the much admired knack of taking a wicket when it’s really needed. To cap it off, he’s a bowler who regularly troubles the opposition’s best batters. These qualities make him amply qualified to be an inspiring captain,” he said.
Chappell termed Cummins’ leadership performance as something that has even “exceeded his expectations” and is in the league of some of the best bowling captains in history of world cricket. They are Imran Khan of Pakistan, Richie Benaud of Australia and Ray Illingworth of England.
“By performing well as a captain in different countries and formats and in a variety of conditions, Cummins is putting himself in that category. Only Imran of that trio – an excellent leader of great presence – played in an era of rapidly growing limited-overs cricket,” he wrote.
For someone vocal about effects of ‘Climate Change’ on coming generations, the Australian skipper isn’t afraid of airing his views.
“It’s not easy in the dog-eat-dog social-media climate for a current player to take a stand, but Cummins has had the guts to be front and centre on issues he is passionate about.” He would have his odd miscalculations and would learn from those but Chappell wants him to continue as long as Cummins intends to.
“Cummins was the right choice as Australian captain and he has done an extremely good job. Even in the ultra-demanding climate of Australian cricket, he has earned the right to remain captain for as long as he wants the role,” Chappell concluded.