Fast bowler Pat Cummins was confirmed as Australia’s 47th Test captain ahead of the Ashes amid Tim Paine’s resignation and decision to take a break from cricket.
Cummins will be backed by new vice-captain Steve Smith, who returns to a formal leadership role for the first time since losing captaincy during the Newlands ball-tampering scandal in 2018.
As vice-captain of former captain Penn, Cummins was considered a shoo-in to replace the wicketkeeper, who on Friday was away from all cricket to take a “mental health break” following the revelations of a ‘sexting’ scandal. steeped in.
However, the appointment is still noteworthy as Australia have almost always favored the batsmen as captain.
Cummins became the second fast bowler to captain the team after Ray Lindwall, who led a Test against him. India in the mid 1950s.
Cummins told reporters from the team’s Gold Coast, “There are a few more unknowns about being the bowling captain and so I think from the start I was absolutely determined that if I were the captain there would be someone like Steve as a vice-captain. ” Base.
“I think I’ve got a lot of experience to draw on. I think a lot of problems or potential issues around being a fast bowling captain, hopefully – I’m sure we’ll be able to work out.
Popular, telegenic and outgoing in public, Cummins became captain a decade after his sensational Test debut as an 18-year-old, when he took seven wickets at the Wanderers to help them beat South Africa.
He had to wait nearly six years for his next Test due to injuries but is now at the top of the world’s Test bowling rankings.
Cummins’ appointment was welcomed by former players and pundits, but Smith’s promotion, after three years of ‘sandpaper-gate’, did not sit well with some.
Smith served a 12-month ban internationally and a two-year ban from leadership roles he completed last year.
Former spinner Shane Warne was vehemently opposed to Smith’s promotion saying it would invite ridicule.
“We need to go into the Ashes now with a clean slate, not open old wounds,” Warne wrote in a column for News Corp.
Smith, seated next to Cummins in a white team polo shirt, said he understood there would be “negativity”.
“But for me, I know I’ve grown a lot in the last three or four years,” he said.
“I’m a more rounded person, and in turn, I think it’s turned me into a better leader.
“I’m excited to be in this position next to Patrick.”
The first task of both will be helping the selectors pick a wicketkeeper ahead of the first Ashes match on December 8 in Brisbane.
The uncapped pair of Alex Carey and Josh Inglis along with Matthew Wade have been seen as a possible replacement for Paine, whose international future is now in doubt.
From there, Cummins and Smith will have to work quickly on how they work together on the field.
Cummins has taken some apprenticeship as captain of New South Wales in domestic one-day competition, captaining sooner than planned.
Like Paine, who succeeded Smith after the Newlands scandal, Cummins has been described in the media as a “cleanskin”, a poster boy who could help Australia move past the scandal.
Cummins said that he is not completely comfortable with such a title.
“I think seeing Tim (Paine) maybe it’s really affected the last few days,” Cummins said.
“Too much pressure and responsibility to be perfect is unfair. I think it’s too much to ask of someone.
“I think we should be a little kinder and sometimes a little more understanding.”