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Skipper Cummins win Ashes, tops wickets

In ominous signs for future opponents, Pat Cummins believes he can only get better as a Test skipper.

The 28-year-old was handed the reins on the eve of the series against England after Tim Paine stepped away from cricket when a sexting saga became public.

In a dream series debut as captain, Cummins finished as a 4-0 Ashes winner with a crushing victory in Hobart and topped the wicket tally with 21 despite missing one Test.

Proof, at least in the short-term, that extra responsibility hasn’t taken away from his bowling.

“That was probably my biggest worry in accepting the role as captain,” Cummins said.

“I’m in the team as a bowler. I want to make sure that’s protected and I’m able to perform as well as I’d like. I think with each game, I felt better at managing that.”

Cummins leant on deputy and former skipper Steve Smith to set fields and said he was able to “switch off” as captain when bowling.

“I could really … take off the captain’s hat and just be a bowler for my overs,” he said.

“Even little things around bowling changes, setting fields in between overs. As I felt like I got better at managing that as the series went on.

“That’s a hugely pleasing thing. Again, it might be difficult in the heat for longer innings. But I feel like it’s something I’m only going to get better at.”

That extra heat will come in March when Australia embark on a three-Test tour of Pakistan.

Cummins has previously said he doesn’t see himself captaining for the remainder of his career.

“For sure, there’s more scrutiny. But in terms of the actual role on the field, and conversations around the change room and those kinds of things, it is manageable,” he said after taking match figures of 7-87 at Bellerive Oval.

“It’s probably not as all-encompassing as I perhaps might have thought when I first took it on.

“But again, I think the biggest challenge is going to be ahead.

“We’re lucky. We live in an age where we’ve got incredible support staff around who take a lot of those stresses out of what a traditional captain might have had around strategy, man management, those kinds of things.”

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