MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia spinner Nathan Lyon has endorsed Pat Cummins as the test side’s next captain and Steve Smith as the fast bowler’s deputy while ruling out himself as a potential leader for the team.

Both Cummins and Smith have interviewed for the captaincy, with Cummins expected to replace Tim Paine after he stood down from the role over a ‘sexting’ scandal less than three weeks before the start of the Ashes.

Lyon said he was impressed with New South Wales team mate Cummins’ leadership when he took the reins of the state’s one-day side last year.

“The two guys who are being interviewed by Cricket Australia for the roles are probably the two best candidates in my eyes,” Lyon told reporters on Thursday.

“I think (Cummins) did a really good job (at NSW), to be honest with you.

“I know it’s kind of a different kettle of fish. But he’s got a lot of senior players around him to support (him) if he does get the nod.

“But then you look at Steve Smith, I think he’s up there with the best batters in the world.

“He’s got a great cricket mind and I’ve got no dramas with both of them putting their hand up for the captaincy.”

With 100 tests under his belt, 34-year-old Lyon is one of Australia’s senior players and is entrusted with singing the team’s victory song “Under the Southern Cross” after match wins.

Lyon said he preferred the status quo when asked whether he had ambitions of a formal leadership role.

“To be honest with you if I put my hand up for the captaincy it would mean I’d have to hand over the team song,” said Lyon.

“I’d rather lead the team song … I’ll keep my hand down.”

Lyon needs one more wicket to reach 400 in tests, a milestone that eluded him during the 2-1 series loss to India over the last home summer.

“Obviously it’s been on my mind for a fair amount of time now since the last test against India,” he said.

“I’m more worried about the whole test series and making sure I play my role in the Australian cricket team and making sure we win and retain these Ashes.”

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)



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