Pat Cummins will lead Australia in the upcoming Ashes series with England, after being named the 47th captain of the men’s cricket team to replace Tim Paine.

Former skipper Steve Smith, who was ruled out of leadership roles for two years due to the 2018 South Africa ball manipulation scandal, has been chosen as Cummins’ deputy.

Cummins has played 34 Tests for Australia since 2011, taking 164 wickets averaging 21.59 and being Paine’s vice-captain until the Tasmanian’s departure last week.

The confirmation of Cummins as test captain came just hours after Paine told Cricket Australia (CA) that he would take leave from all forms of cricket in the “foreseeable future”.

Cummins said he understood the responsibilities that come with being a men’s test skipper.

“I know the role comes with extra control,” Cummins told the media Friday afternoon.

“For 10 or 11 years I’ve been playing for Australia in public. I may not always get things right, I’m not perfect.

Cummins is the first fast bowler to captain Australia since Ray Lindwall led the team to a Test against India in Mumbai in 1956.

The 28-year-old acknowledged that fast bowling captains were not the norm in test cricket, but he was confident he could handle the job with Smith as his deputy.

He said he expected their relationship on the pitch to be based on a “collaborative approach”.

“There will be times when I’m out in the middle and it’s a hot day and I’m in the middle of a (bowling) period and I have to turn to people for advice, to gain experience. , “said Cummins.

“That’s the main reason … I wanted Steve to be vice-captain. So I think what it looks like, it could potentially look different from what you see, how partnerships worked in the past.

“Steve has such great strengths, especially around tactics on the pitch.

“I would normally lean on him for that, and it can look a little different from the outside to potentially how the captains have been in the past, and that’s great.”

A bowler raises his arms to celebrate as the fired batsman turns to walk.
Cummins has taken 164 wickets in 34 Tests for Australia.(AP: Andy Brownbill)

Smith said he was not worried about working with the Cummins.

“It’s my job to help Patrick in any way I can, and if there are times on the pitch where I can help – and I’m guessing to help with the workload with Pat – then it’s my job,” he said.

“I’m excited to work with Patrick. We’ve known each other for a long time. We’re close friends. We’re getting along really well.

“I think we complement each other really well. I think I’m really excited and I think this could be a really good partnership to move forward.”

Smith ready for ‘negativity’

Smith’s appointment as vice-captain has raised some eyebrows in the Australian and international cricket community because of his role in the ball manipulation scandal three years ago.

He was suspended for 12 months after the incident and was also excluded from leadership positions within the Australian team.

Australia's Steve Smith raises his bat in recognition after making a test half century.
Steve Smith has returned to a leadership position on the men’s test team.(Getty / CA: Chris Hyde)

Smith said he respected the fact that his appointment would be met with opposition from some cricket observers.

“I think there will be some negativity from some people around it, I understand that, and I understand that,” he said.

“I’m a more rounded individual, and in return I think it’s made me a better leader, and I’m excited to be in that position next to Patrick.”

Cummins supports Paine

Paine resigned from the captaincy on Friday after sexual texts he had sent to a former female colleague at Cricket Tasmania became public.

Cummins said he fully supported Paine at this time.

“I’ve been chatting with Tim all week, we talked on the phone this morning,” he said.

“I want to start by saying that we really feel with him and his family. He is truly loved, a well-respected leader of our team.

“We love him and we hope to see him back on the team soon.”

Tim Paine wears a helmet under his arm and wicketkeeping gloves in his hand
Tim Paine resigned as Australian men’s test captain last Friday.(Action photos via Reuters: Lee Smith)

Smith said he had empathy for Paine when he himself stepped down from the Australian Test captain in 2018.

“I urge him to take care of himself and be really kind to himself so my thoughts are with him and his family and he has obviously taken leave,” he said.

“Hopefully we can see him back.”

CA CEO Nick Hockley said his organization would support Paine while he took a break from cricket.

“We recognize that this is an incredibly difficult time for Tim and his family, and we are committed to supporting them,” he said.

“We understand that, and we respect Tim’s decision to spend some time focusing on his family and his well-being, and we hope he returns as soon as possible.”


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