Could Pup be set to step back in to the captaincy role.
Could Pup be set to step back in to the captaincy role.

Who becomes the next Australian captain?

THE NATION is still reeling from the bombshell cricket news that dropped on day three of the third Test in Cape Town.

We saw Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull savage the Aussies' actions, while James Sutherland made a shock revelation on Sunday afternoon.

The news of Steve Smith and David Warner standing down from their positions of captain and vice-captain hit the headlines right before day four action got underway.

Tim Paine was announced as the interim captain for the remainder of the Test in Cape Town with the bigger decisions set to be announced following a Cricket Australia investigation into the incident.

The fourth and final Test of the series is set to get underway on Good Friday at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.

But the question on everyone's lips right now is, who will attend the toss of the coin and lead the Australians into the next phase?

Before we list just who could be next in line, we have to remove some names from contention.

Smith in his press conference stated "the leadership group knew about it, we spoke about it at lunch", if that implication is found to be true then no player from said group can surely be handed the badge of honour.

Straight off the bat you remove Smith's name along with Warner, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

With only limited options remaining, here are the players who could be in the running to be named as Australia's 47th captain.

Cummins has lead from the front in the current series.
Cummins has lead from the front in the current series.

PAT CUMMINS

He may have had an injury plagued career and is still relatively young, but Pat Cummins has shown he's a key-figure in the Australian side.

His dominance against the English during the Ashes series was emphatic as he led all bowlers with 23 wickets at an average of 24.65.

Cummins has so far carried that form over into the current Test series against South Africa as he once again leads Australia's attack with 13 wickets from the three Tests.

Former Australian skipper Michael Clarke stated that he believed Cummins could well become the captain one day.

"He is such a talent and someone I believe can go on and captain Australia one day," said Clarke, earlier this month.

"He's a great athlete and someone I always wanted in the XI in all formats when he was fit."

While it may be sooner than expected, that day may have arrived.

Hands up if you’re ready to lead.
Hands up if you’re ready to lead.

TIM PAINE

Cast your mind back to the start of summer when the Australian selectors released the team ahead of the first Ashes Test.

Tim Paine was named as the wicketkeeper and jaws hit the floor that his name had been included on the team sheet.

Look at where we are now.

Paine led the Aussies on a tumultuous day four in Cape Town and despite the horrific result, he's become a frontrunner to become the next skipper.

While he may be 33-years-old, Paine showed terrific poise when he was forced to handle all media responsibilities after the third Test loss.

His rollercoaster ride from struggling to earn a place in the Tasmania side to now being in contention to become our next national skipper is the stuff of fairytales, but it's hard to deny he isn't worthy of the honour.

When asked if he harboured any long term ambitions to be named the skipper of the Test side, Paine was emphatic with his response.

"No, no I don't, I'm too old for that," Paine said on ABC Grandstand.

Is some brotherly love what the team needs to lead?
Is some brotherly love what the team needs to lead?

THE MARSH BROTHERS

Great leaders have a strong bond with their counterparts and what stronger bond is there than family?

Yes, both Shaun and Mitch have bounced in and out of the team over the years, but the brothers are long tenured Test players who know what it takes to perform on the big stage.

They've faced incredible adversity throughout their Test careers and have managed to come out on the other side smelling like roses.

While it seems extremely unlikely this scenario actually pans out, they have to be included on the list because when you look at it ... there isn't anyone else.

Bring back the spikes.
Bring back the spikes.

THE OUTSIDER

A retired former skipper coming back to lead the Test side sounds farfetched right? Believe it or not, it wouldn't be a new story if it were to happen.

Bob Simpson was the national skipper during the 1960s and after retirement made the switch into public relations.

Then Test cricket was hit by Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket in 1977 and the majority of Australia's first-choice players defected. Forcing Simpson to make his comeback 10 years after stepping away.

So while many may have laughed when Michael Clarke spoke about returning, myself included, is it actually that bad of an idea?

The current stock of Australian cricket is at an all-time low and the leadership of the team has been decimated. What we need right now is a steadying hand.

While Clarke may not be remembered as one of our greatest captains, he still showed he has what it takes to lead the nation.

When the proposition was raised to Clarke on Sunday morning, he didn't shy away from the question.

"If I was asked by the right people, then I would think about my answer," Clarke said on Channel Nine's Sports Sunday.

Clarke admitted the scandal reflected a lack of leadership among the team.

"I can't believe if the leadership group has made a decision to do this that they've gone and got the young kid ... as a leader you can't ask somebody to do something you're not willing to do yourself."


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