Pat Cummins has been confirmed as the man to lead Australia in the Ashes just hours after former Test captain Tim Paine announced he was taking a leave of absence from all forms of cricket following a sexting scandal.
Paine had been confirmed as skipper of Australia’s 15-strong squad last week before he resigned from the leadership position on November 19, admitting to “a private text exchange” with a former colleague at Cricket Tasmania.
Cricket Australia (CA) announced on Friday that Cummins, 28, would move up following a two-year run as vice-captain, with 32-year-old former captain and batter Steve Smith to serve as his deputy.
CA chief executive Nick Hockley said in a statement Cummins was 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,” Hockley added.
“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 said: “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.
“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.”
Smith became eligible to hold a leadership position or captain Australia again in March 2020 following the conclusion of a two-year ban prompted by the cheating scandal in South Africa.
One week after stepping down as Test captain, Paine on Friday announced via a statement from his state association he was taking “a leave of absence from all forms of cricket for the foreseeable future”.
In response, Hockley said CA recognised it was an “incredibly difficult time for Tim and his family and are committed to supporting them”.
England will take on Australia in the first Test at the Gabba from December 8 and the fifth and final Test is scheduled for Perth’s Optus Stadium from January 14.