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Ricky Ponting Explains How ‘Deputy’ Steve Smith Has to Play Crucial Role in Pushing ‘Captain’ Pat Cummins as Bowler

Batting great Ricky Ponting claims that Steve Smith’s role as the vice-captain will be crucial for newly-appointed Test skipper Pat Cummins. Cricket Australia on Friday announced the appointment of Cummins as the 47th Australia Test captain and named talisman Smith as his deputy. Earlier, Tim Paine stepped down from the position last week after revelations of a scandal involving the sending of inappropriate texts to a female co-worker in 2017.

Ponting, who is rated amongst the best captains to ever play the game, highlighted a concern that might put doubts in Cummins mind as a bowler after being appointed as the captain.

“There were times I reckon last summer when they just had to keep bowling Pat,” Ponting told cricket.com.au. “In Sydney and Brisbane, there were long spells when he looked the most likely to get wickets.

“The only concern I have is if it’s the same again, where Pat’s the standout fast bowler, is he going to keep bowling himself? Because the team is going to need it. Or will he be worried about what people are going to think if he just keeps himself on the whole time?” he added.

Also Read | Tim Paine Takes Indefinite Break From All Forms of Cricket

Ponting feels that sometimes a bowler need someone to push him and that’s where Smith has to play a crucial role as vice-captain.

“That’s where vice captain’s role is really important in this whole thing, Because it might go the other way that he doesn’t bowl himself enough because he’s getting physically tired. But sometimes you need someone to push your or direct you, and that’s where I think the vice-captain is going to be important,” he said.

Earlier, Smith was forced to stand down as skipper for his part in the “Sandpaper-gate” ball-tampering scandal of 2018. However, his captaincy ban has ended in 2019 and Cricket Australia has decided to bring him back into the leadership group.

Also Read | Pat Cummins Announced as Australia Test Captain, Steve Smith Named His Deputy

On his appointment as vice-captain, Ponting said that Smith and the others involved in the ball-tampering scandal have already suffered a severe penalty and the premium batter has not done anything wrong after that.

“We’ve all made mistakes. We all said at the time it was a severe penalty for all those guys – and it had to be, that’s the way it was at the time. But it’s a long time ago now,” said Ponting.

“He’s played some great cricket since then and has not stepped a foot wrong with anything he’s done in his life since then. So as far as I’m concerned, if Cricket Australia think it’s okay, then I’m not surprised they have given him the job,” he added.

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