The Ashes: Shane Warne tips ‘Poster boy’ Pat Cummins as Australia captain after Tim Paine scandal

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The Ashes: Shane Warne tips ‘Poster boy’ Pat Cummins as Australia captain after Tim Paine scandal
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Pat Cummins has been backed as Australia captain for The Ashes by Test legend Shane Warne.

Former spinner Warne, 52, believes the fast bowler can command the “respect” the captaincy deserves after scandals engulfed previous incumbents Steve Smith and Tim Paine.

"For me, the time is right to make Pat Cummins captain, something I thought even before the events of Friday unfolded," Warne wrote in Australia's The Daily Telegraph on Sunday.

"The poster boy, respected and loved the world over, Pat Cummins should now be named captain, and either Matt Wade, Josh Inglis or Alex Carey should get their chance to come in and play Paine's role in the Test team.

"Inglis gets my vote. He's got silky smooth hands behind the stumps, he's a 36-degree player with the bat and coming off three first class hundreds last season for Western Australia. He's a great team man who I saw first hand at the London Spirit this year. He's 26. Get him in."

Warne urged fans not to judge Paine too harshly despite the sexting scandal that forced the wicketkeeper to resign from his senior role, although he is still expected to play in the series against England.

"It was sad to see what happened last Friday on so many levels and the circumstances in which Tim was forced to stand down. I really feel for him, what he's going through, and what his family is going through," Warne added.

"I'm not judging him on this incident. Just because Tim is in the public eye doesn't mean he won't make a mistake. Sportspersons are human, they have feelings. Let's stop the judgement. It's not our place to do that."

Former England captain Michael Atherton agreed that Cummins was the natural pick but added in his column for The Times that “fast bowling is ferociously hard work without the additional strain of captaincy”.

While noting that a fast bowler has not captained Australia’s Test side since 1956, he wrote: “As well as being a brilliant bowler, ranked No 1 in the world in Tests and one of the fastest, Cummins is an intelligent, widely admired character, with an interesting hinterland that includes a business degree, and is someone who is expected to provide sound leadership off the field.”

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