Cricket Australia has named Pat Cummins as their next Test captain while former skipper Steve Smith has been picked up as his deputy ahead of the all-important Ashes series, which starts on December 8. The position was vacant since Tim Paine stepped down in the wake of an off-field scandal.
Cummins, who is Australia 47th Test captain, will be the first fast bowler to captain Australia full time and also the first bowler since Richie Benaud to lead the country. The ace fast bowler takes over the role after serving as Paine’s deputy for almost two years.
The decision comes after an interview process with a five-person selection pane and ratification from the full board of Cricket Australia. Selectors George Bailey and Tony Dodemaide, along with CA Board member and former Australia international Mel Jones, interim chair Richard Freudenstein, and CEO Nick Hockley put forward Pat Cummins as the captain after a rigorous assessment of candidates.
“I am honoured to accept this role ahead of what will be a massive Ashes summer,” Pat Cummins said in a statement. “I hope I can provide the same leadership Tim (Paine) has given the group in the past few years. 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.”
JUST IN: Pat Cummins is officially the 47th captain of the Aussie Men's Test team #Ashes
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) November 26, 2021
“This is an unexpected privilege which I am very grateful for and am very much looking forward to,” he added.
I am pleased to return to the leadership of the team – Steve Smith
Steve Smith, who was stripped of leadership duties in the wake of the sandpaper gate incident, asserted that he is happy to return to the leadership group.
“I am pleased to return to the leadership of the team and look forward to helping and assisting Pat in any way I can,” Smith said in a statement.
“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. There are exciting times ahead as we focus on the Ashes and beyond,” he added.