Not in favour of fast bowler being appointed Australia skipper: Ex-wicketkeeper Berry

Sydney, Nov 20 (IANS): Former Victorian wicketkeeper Darren Berry believes that Australia's Test captaincy should not fall on the shoulders of pace bowler Pat Cummins, following regular skipper Tim Paine stepping down from the post in the wake of the sexting scandal on Friday.

Berry said that while there were few options other than Cummins, given that the Ashes series is scheduled to commence at the Gabba on December 8, Cricket Australia (CA) could look for options as the series progresses.

"Given the immediacy of it, I think they (CA) will go to Pat Cummins, and he deserves (it), he's vice-captain, but personally I don't like a fast bowler as captain. History says that it's bloody tough to bowl 10 overs, go to fine leg and go, 'now I've got to move the field'," said the 51-year-old Berry, who is somewhat of a domestic great having played 153 First-class games and scored more than 4,000 runs besides having taken 552 catches as a wicketkeeper.

"I don't like fast bowlers as captains, I've played under a couple and they've been okay," added Berry.

Berry also felt that the scandal apart, if Paine is fit, the Tasmanian should be in the playing XI for the first Ashes Test given that the 36-year-old is the best wicketkeeper-batter in Australia.

"As the Australian captain, with the revelations, he had no choice but to stand down as captain," Berry said on SEN Drive on Saturday. "I would like to say from the outset, if he is available, he is the best wicketkeeper in Australia, nobody condones what's happened, it's wrong, but he hasn't killed anybody, he hasn't robbed a bank, he's made a horrible mistake that he's going to have to live with, with his family and I feel for him, even though he's made a horrible mistake. But I want to say, and people will disagree, if he's available, I would pick him.

"If you're looking for the best wicketkeeper/batsman to play the first Test, he's not captain, I'm picking Tim Paine. If he plays this weekend and he plays the Australian A game and he keeps and he's saying I'm fit to go, I'm picking him, now that's going to divide opinion," added Perry.

Paine had undergone an invasive neck surgery in mid-September to set right a bulging disc that had been causing discomfort to the wicketkeeper-batsman in his left arm and neck. The bulging disc was pressing on the nerve canal, causing pain on the left side of the body.

Berry also said that Paine's average of 32.63 at the Test level was fine and that he shouldn't be criticised for that. "No issue whatsoever with Tim Paine batting at number seven and being the Australian wicketkeeper," he added.



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