News Analysis

Smith, Cummins, Warner or someone else - who will be Australia's next ODI captain?

A look at the names who could come into consideration

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
There is no huge rush for Australia's selectors to name Aaron Finch's replacement as ODI captain with the next series not until mid-November against England. But here is a look at the names, some more likely than others, who could come into consideration.
Steven Smith
There are no issues over his eligibility for captaincy and he led Australia in the Adelaide Ashes Test last year after Pat Cummins was a Covid close contact. He also has plenty of leadership experience from his previous stint at the helm and, while a full-time return to the Test job has probably passed him, there's a sense that he has unfinished business in the role. He is a lock as the No. 3 in the ODI side, and although there continue to be some questions over his position in T20Is, he has spoken recently about being able to shed the 'Mr Fix It' tag and play aggressively from the ball one.
Pat Cummins
The Test captain has previously said adding another job to his list would probably be too much given the volume of cricket and there is also the issue that ODI (and T20I) cricket is often where Cummins is rested when Tests are a priority. However, Finch thought it would be possible from a workload perspective. "If anyone could handle it, it's Pat," he said. "He's an unbelievably resilient person and has shown brilliant leadership of the Test group and I've loved working with him while he has been in that role and vice-captain a few times. He takes everything in his stride."
David Warner
When Warner was banned for life from holding any leadership role in Australian cricket, this situation was likely to arise. The conversation didn't really need to be had around the Test job with Cummins lined up, but this time it's a little different. He has spoken about wanting a conversation with the CA board, which from October will only have one remaining member who was part of the ban ruling, and it is expected to be discussed at AGM next month. However, Warner will be 36 shortly so it would not be the most forward-thinking of decisions, although there may be an argument about getting the side to the 2023 World Cup after which there could be a more significant turnaround over personnel. It would certainly be a hot topic should Warner be eligible again.
Alex Carey
Carey stood in for Finch during last year's tour of the West Indies and led Australia impressively in tricky conditions to take the ODI series 2-1. He has long been regarded as having leadership qualities and was previously one of the joint vice-captains in 2018 while still very inexperienced. He came in for some stinging criticism from Allan Border while leading Australia A against India in late 2020 but opted to get in touch with Border. "For him to answer my call and have a great chat to me about what he saw, that was a great learning curve for me to speak to one of Australia's best captains," Carey said last year. However, he is not part of the T20I side. If, as it appears, Finch also finishes in that format after the T20 World Cup, it would leave the selectors needing three captains in case they hand Carey the ODI leadership.
Mitchell Marsh
If there's the desire for a fresh captaincy face who can hold a place across both white-ball formats, then Marsh has those credentials. His career has been revived since moving to No. 3 in the T20I side, and while his ODI returns have been less impressive recently, and his appearances hit by injury, there is certainly a spot in the side for him. He has captained Australia A, is currently the Western Australia skipper (although his opportunities in recent seasons have been limited by national call-ups), and he also led Perth Scorchers in the BBL before being replaced by Ashton Turner.
Glenn Maxwell
Another player assured of selection in all white-ball cricket, it would be a surprise if his name wasn't mentioned at some point. Currently Melbourne Stars' captain in the BBL, he also led Kings XI Punjab for a season in the IPL. However, Stars have been unable to secure their first BBL title. Maxwell may be better suited to being an experienced voice alongside whoever is the new captain and able to focus on being a game-changing player.
Josh Hazlewood
This would appear a left-field option, but Cummins has the Test job so why not another fast bowler? Hazlewood has developed into one of the leading white-ball bowlers in the world, a first pick in both formats although there would likely be the issue of rotation at times, especially when he is also a Test regular. In white-ball cricket, there is also the need for more boundary fielders than in Tests and it is often where Hazlewood finds himself. As captain, he would need to be inside the ring more often than not.
Adam Zampa
Perhaps an unexpected name to see here, but there is no question over his position as one of the leading white-ball spinners in the world. It's also unlikely there would be too many workload concerns as a Test career looks like a long shot. Speaking to Codesports recently, he was certainly open to the idea without actively hunting for it. "If the opportunity arises and it happens organically, then I would definitely think about it," he said. "I just really appreciate being valued as a leader, whether it be around the Australian group, or the Stars, not necessarily having a 'C' next to my name."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo