Arguably the greatest bowler of all-time, Shane Warne, has questioned whether Tim Paine is the appropriate Test captain for the Australian cricket team.
When Steve Smith and David Warner were handed 12-month sanctions for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal that occurred in South Africa back in March, all pundits wondered who would take on the mantle next.
The honour was bestowed upon Paine, and at the time, he was the only clear candidate.
When Smith and Warner were demoted from their duties in the series against the Proteas, the only other Sheffield Shield leaders in the Test squad were Usman Khawaja (Queensland), Peter Handscomb (Victoria) and Mitch Marsh (Western Australia).
All three of those players have yet to cement their spots in the Aussie line-up, and the respect and humility Paine brought to the squad made him the clear and only choice to take over from Smith.
But, Warne isn’t sure whether Cricket Australia thought about the make-up of the team before naming Paine as captain.
“The Australian way is always to pick your best team. There is a lot of talk about that, should Tim Paine be in the side? He is the captain at the moment,” Warne told Fairfax.
“But we, as Australians, should always pick our best team and then pick your captain and vice-captain from that. I don’t think we should just make a captain and then fit a side around him.
“I think the captain and vice-captain should still be up for grabs. I want us to see us pick the best side. If Tim Paine is in the best side and he is the best guy to be captain, then make him captain.”
While the captaincy appears to be sorted for the time being, Australia has yet to name an official deputy for Paine.
Mitch Marsh appears to be the front-runner, with the all-rounder being named as skipper of Australia A’s side that will play two four-day games against India A in August.
The West Australian has previously been brought up in discussions about becoming the next Australian skipper by both former players Simon Katich and Matthew Wade.
“I think Mitch Marsh should be the one that is captain when Steve Smith is done and dusted,” Katich said on SEN.
“If he keeps going at this rate and improving the way he has with the bat and contributing with the ball, then down the track potentially he’s the man.”
Wade said that the recent appointment of Justin Langer as Australian coach will work in Mitchell Marsh’s favour.
“I would assume that Mitch Marsh would be the next guy in line,” Wade told SEN Breakfast.
“I think Tim Paine will probably do it for a 12 month period and then I would assume Mitch would be the next guy that would take over.
“I know Justin Langer has worked really closely with Mitch for a long period of time in Western Australia, he’s now the WA captain and done really well since he’s taken the captaincy so that’s probably the direction it’ll go which is a good thing for Cricket Australia.”
While both Katich and Wade have endorsed Marsh, Warney, ever the bowler, wants to see a spin-minded approach to leadership
“I would like to see Nathan Lyon be considered for the vice-captain role. He is a senior player, an experienced player in the side – spinners generally think about the game pretty well,” Warne said on Fox Sports.
“Nathan Lyon thinks about the game pretty well, even the big ‘quickies’ do, in [Mitchell] Starc and [Josh] Hazlewood. [Pat] Cummins is young but why not look at him, either?
“It’s not just the batsmen we need to look at [as vice-captain] – and I don’t think any of the batsmen have really consolidated themselves. I think they are all up for grabs. I think the all-rounder’s spot is up for grabs. I think if you are an Australian cricketer at the moment, you are so close to playing cricket for Australia, so the start of the domestic season is so important.”