Questions are being raised on the captaincy of Pat Cummins. (AFP photo)
Without further ado, the questions are simple – Is the Australian team losing because of captain Pat Cummins? Are they not able to make the right strategy? Has he failed to get the best performance from the players? Is he not able to lead the team from the front? These questions are being raised because Australia has faced defeat in its first two matches in the 2023 World Cup. The margin of defeat is so big that it becomes clear that the Australian team had no place in the match. In the match against India, except for a few minutes of happiness with the three wickets of Ishan Kishan, Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer, the Kangaroos faced only tension and pressure in both the matches.
The Australian team could not bat for fifty overs against South Africa. Australia’s next match is against Sri Lanka. Looking at the performance the Kangaroos have done so far, it can be said that Sri Lanka will also try to catch them to get their first win in the tournament. No one expects such performance from the 5-time world champion team. Now coming to the initial questions regarding Pat Cummins i.e. the captain of Australia, to answer these questions you will have to go with me a few months ago.
When Smith took captaincy in place of Pat Cummins
Let’s go to the beginning of this year. The Australian team was on a tour of India. A series of four test matches was to be played. Pat Cummings was commanding the team. India defeated Australia in the first test match by a margin of innings and 132 runs. After this the next test match was to be played in Delhi. In this test match also, the Kangaroos had to face defeat by 6 wickets. During this time, Pat Cummins had to return to Australia. He had returned due to personal reasons. In his absence, captaincy was handed over to Steve Smith. It was difficult to handle the team after losing two consecutive test matches. But Steve Smith is experienced. He has held the command of Australia for a good period of time. He understands his team players better. He united the players. Result: In the third Test match played in Indore, Australia counterattacked and won the match.
Australia won that match by a margin of 9 wickets. He was also successful in getting a draw in the fourth test match played in Ahmedabad. That is, in the series which Australia seemed to be losing by 4-0, they finished the series by 2-1. At that time too, it was raised that instead of Pat Cummins, Steve Smith should be given the command of Australia again, but this did not happen. It is still believed that even though the captaincy of the Test team remains with Pat Cummins, he should take the captaincy of the team in limited overs.
What is the harm in giving Smith the captaincy again?
Steve Smith is currently 34 years old. He will play cricket comfortably for three to four years. He has the art of captaincy. He understands the match situation better. It is true that Cricket Australia will not take any such decision in the middle of the World Cup. But in future they will also have to think that if the world champion team has to maintain its reputation then the ‘leadership’ should be in the right hands. During this time, Cricket Australia can also ‘groom’ Marnus Labuschagne for captaincy.
Well, why would an Indian cricket fan think about the betterment of the Australian team, but just imagine how boring the World Cup will become if Australia is out of the knock-out race after the first few matches. To maintain the excitement of the tournament and further increase the popularity of cricket, good performance by big teams like Australia is necessary. Anyway, the West Indies team has not even been able to qualify for the World Cup this time. Perhaps the reason behind not handing over the captaincy back to Steve Smith is the 5 years old incident when Cricket Australia had to be embarrassed.
Steve Smith was banned in sandpaper case
It is October 2018. The Australian team was on a tour of South Africa. Steve Smith used to be the captain of the team. A test match was going on in Cape Town when the camera captured an action of an Australian player. Australian player Cameron Bancroft was rubbing the ball with sandpaper. This was a straight case of ball tampering. Later David Warner, Bancroft and Steve Smith also accepted this allegation. This is the same press conference in which crying pictures of Steve Smith went viral. This was a dark date in the history of Cricket Australia. Bancroft was banned for 9 months and David Warner-Steve Smith were banned for one year each.
At that time Tim Paine was given the command of the team. There was a lot of uproar throughout world cricket. Well, after completing the ban, David Warner and Steve Smith returned. In some matches immediately after their return, these players had to become victims of taunts from cricket fans. But gradually things became normal. The anger of the cricket fans also continued. But Cricket Australia probably still has not forgotten that incident.