Pat Cummins’ turnaround in fitness could be the key piece of the puzzle in his Test captaincy push, three years after it derailed his last round of leadership interviews.

Cummins remains the favourite to be endorsed as Australia’s 47th Test captain with Steve Smith looming as his likely deputy.

The quick has been fallen skipper Tim Paine’s vice-captain since early 2019, when first handed the role alongside Travis Head before taking it on himself last year.

But it could easily have been his earlier.

Cummins was one of several players interviewed for the vice-captain role in 2018 in a similar process that candidates will go through for the top job this week.

At the time, Cummins made a presentation on his vision of the men’s team and was asked about his thoughts on potential cultural changes.

He didn’t get the job after missing a looming tour of the UAE with a back injury, landing Josh Hazlewood and Mitch Marsh the role.

Aaron Finch, Travis Head and Alex Carey were also handed leadership roles as part of the process.

But what at one stage was a chink in Cummins’ armour has now turned into one of his greatest strengths.

Cummins has not missed a Test since that tour, joining only Paine and Nathan Lyon as the only players to have featured in all 20 matches since.

That comes to despite injuries once forcing him to wait almost 2000 days to add to his debut Test, while also spending six years out of Sheffield Shield cricket.

Cummins’ fitness is now likely to be key to Cricket Australia’s panel of George Bailey, Tony Dodemaide, Mel Jones, Nick Hockley and Richard Freudenstein.

One fear around handing Cummins’ the captaincy could be the suggestion quicks will be rested throughout this summer.

But in Cummins, the selectors have a bowler who has not had to be rotated in three years.

Teammates have also backed his ability to become the first quick to be permanent captain of Australia.

“Patty captained NSW in one-day games last year went really well. So I’m not sure that’s going to be an issue for him,” Marcus Harris said.

“Going forward and in the future, I can see guys being able to do it as bowlers.

“Patty plays all formats, plays a lot of cricket, is a very smart bloke.

“And there’s a lot of senior guys still on the team so if people need to help him there are people there to do that.”

Cummins fitness now an ally for captaincy
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