On Friday, Cricket Australia (CA) named speedster Pat Cummins as the next Test captain while senior batter Steve Smith was appointed his deputy.
After an interview process with a five-person selection panel, Cummins was chosen to lead the Aussie side. With that, he became the first fast bowler to be a full-time captain of the Australian men’s Test team and the first bowler of any kind to lead the team since Richie Benaud.
Cummins’ appointment came just a week after Tim Paine stepped down from Test captaincy following a texting scandal.
Cummins, the world’s No.1 ranked Test bowler, said it was an ‘unexpected’ honour, and he hoped to provide the same leadership as Paine did during his time. Notably, Paine has taken an indefinite break from all forms of the game, citing mental health concerns.
“I am honoured to accept this role ahead of what will be a massive Ashes summer. I hope I can provide the same leadership Tim (Paine) has given the group in the past few years,” said Paine as quoted by Cricket.com.au.
“With Steve and I as captains, a number of very senior players in this squad and some great young talent coming through, we are a strong and tightly-knit group. This is an unexpected privilege which I am very grateful for and am very much looking forward to,” he added.
Smith, whose captaincy came to an end in 2018 due to a sandpaper incident, shared his reaction and said he would look forward to help Cummins in any way he could.
“I am pleased to return to the leadership of the team and look forward to helping and assisting Pat in any way I can. Pat and I have played together for a long time, so we know our respective styles well. We are also great friends, as is the whole group. As a team, we want to play good, positive cricket and also really enjoy each other’s company. They are exciting times ahead as we focus on the Ashes and beyond,” said Smith in a statement.