Pat Cummins has been confirmed as the new Australian Test skipper with Steve Smith named his vice-captain while the fallen Tim Paine has taken a leave of absence ahead of the Ashes.
Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed the appointment of 28-year-old fast bowler Cummins on Friday after Paine stepped down from the position last week for a sexting scandal from 2017.
Paine also announced he would be taking a leave of absence indefinitely, meaning he has been ruled out of the First Test.
Cummins has been Australia’s vice-captain for the past two years and becomes a rare fast bowling Test skipper.
CA CEO Nick Hockley said: “Pat is an outstanding player and leader. He has earned enormous respect from his teammates and from all corners of the game for his attitude and achievements, both on and off the field.
“We are extremely fortunate to have an experienced group of senior players who themselves are superb leaders. I have no doubt that Pat and Steve will be well supported in their respective leadership roles.”
Cummins, who debuted for Australia in 2011 as a teenager and has played 34 Tests for 164 wickets, said he was honoured by the appointment.
“I am honoured to accept this role ahead of what will be a massive Ashes summer,” Cummins said. “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. This is an unexpected privilege which I am very grateful for and am very much looking forward to.”
The appointment comes ahead of the First Ashes Test starting at the Gabba in Brisbane on December 8.
On Paine’s decision, Hockley added: “We recognise that this is an incredibly difficult time for Tim and his family and are committed to supporting them. We respect and understand Tims decision to have a break at this time to focus on his and his familys well-being.
“The National Selection Panel will meet in the coming days to discuss the final squad ahead of the first Ashes Test on December 8.”