Editorial: Modern-man Cummins a turning point for Aussie team

Editorial The West Australian
Pat Cummins.
Camera IconPat Cummins. Credit: News Corp Australia

If anything, it would be an understatement to say that the recent history of the Australian men’s cricket team has been turbulent.

Disastrous would be more apt. The fallout from the “Sandpapergate” ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in 2018 saw then-captain Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft served with bans, and then-coach Darren Lehmann stand down.

Former Test opener, West Australian Justin Langer was brought in as coach, and wicketkeeper Tim Paine appointed captain.

Paine was considered a fresh start.

Pat Cummins and Steve Smith.
Camera IconFast bowler Pat Cummins was introduced as the next Australian Test skipper via Zoom. Credit: AAP

But it was a false start and last week he stepped down over a sexting scandal.

Today, as expected, Pat Cummins was handed the Test captaincy, with a rehabilitated Smith as his deputy. Much of the focus during the lead-up to the announcement was on how Cummins would handle captaincy duties along with his arduous role as a key fast bowler.

But attention could easily have been elsewhere, for the university-educated, socially and environmentally aware Cummins has an impressive pedigree not just on the field, but off it as well.

Cummins made his Test debut 10 years ago this month but then spent the next five years battling and overcoming constant injuries to become a key member of the team.

His off-field activities have seen him speak in support of the global anti-racism movement and of greater recognition for Indigenous Australians, as well as acknowledging the sport’s carbon footprint and joining climate change initiatives.

In a nutshell, Cummins is a very impressive individual.

And so, we can look forward with hope that the silver lining of the Paine scandal is that Australia just got a very, very smart and modern sports star to captain the team.

Let’s wish him well and let’s also wish this is finally a real line in the sand and real turning point for the team and the sport.

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