Dubai: Pat Cummins, named the Australian Test skipper in the wake of Tim Paine controversy, will need some help to start with in a high pressure series like The Ashes, feels former Australian international and journeyman coach Stuart Law.
Now in Abu Dhabi as the coach of Bangla Tigers in the ongoing Abu Dhabi T10 League, Law refused to be harsh on Paine but supported the wicketkeeper-batsman’s decision to take time out of the game in the wake of the ‘sexting’ scandal. Paine, who had quit captaincy more than a week back after the revealations but was on the Ashes squad, pulled out of cricket earlier this week - a decision that may spare hosts of some distraction during the upcoming contest.
See, we all make mistakes. Credit to Tim (Paine) that he had put his hand up by quitting the captaincy and pulling out of cricket and I don’t think this episode will affect Australia’s chances anyway in the series
‘‘(Pat) Cummins is a great man and fine player. He may not be that experienced as a captain but has had a leadership role within the team for sometime now. Cummins will need some help and that’s why he wanted Steve Smith as his vice-captain but in time, he will be a popular captain because of his personality and cricket skills,’’ Law said during an exclusive zoom interview with Gulf News. Cummins, from all accounts, had insisted on having the former captain - disgraced after the ‘Sandpapergate,’ as a part of the leadership in The Ashes.
A former Australian allrounder of the Nineties, Law - who had been at the helm of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, West Indies and English County Middlesex for last three years, felt that Paine had done everything at his behest to prevent Cricket Australia from any possible embarrassment. ‘‘See, we all make mistakes. Credit to Tim that he had put his hand up by quitting the captaincy and pulling out of cricket and I don’t think this episode will affect Australia’s chances anyway in the series,’’ Law said.
Asked about his prediction on the Ashes, Law felt that history gives a fair indication that the hosts will start as favourites in the series which gets underway at the Gabba on December 8. ‘‘I understand the Barmy Army will be there and England has received a boost with the addition of Ben Stokes, who had been such a big performer for them in 2019. However, Australia have the pace bowling quality to cause problems for England with three guys standing at six feet three inches (Cummins, Jos Hazzlewood & Mitchell Starc) and with a lot more pace and bounce at Perth and the Gabba than the English conditions,’’ the 53-year-old said.
At a personal front, Law is hopeful of his team Bangla Tigers - led by Faf du Plessis - of making the play-offs of the T10 League in what would be his first major assignment in franchise cricket. ‘‘The franchise model has improved and evolved a lot more and it demands a completely different style of management from you. Here, you try to find a happy medium to produce the best cricket possible and the role of the chief coach is more about man-management rather than at a one-to-one level. It is more like the conductor of an Orchestra,’’ he said.
Asked if he feels that the T10 format can be a right fit for the inclusion of cricket in the Olympics, Law felt it’s still a work in progress. ‘‘See, a T20 game takes around four hours to finish while the duration of an Olympics is two weeks. It’s still early to say if the T10 is the best format for Olympics, but it offers you an excitement-packed 90 minutes of cricket,’’ Law observed.
As someone who has plied his trade in sub-continent countries, the Australian is now keen to throw his hat in the reckoning to be on the support staff for the bigger version of Indian Premier League next year. ‘‘I am surely interested to see how it works in the biggest franchise league in the world,’’ he rounded off. Are the franchises listening?