The Ashes: Pat Cummins named Australia captain for series with Steve Smith returning as vice-captain

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Pat Cummins has been named Australia’s new Test captain with Steve Smith returning to act as vice-captain for the upcoming Ashes series.

Cummins had been the clear favourite to replace Tim Paine in the days since his resignation earlier this month after sending sexually explicit messages to a co-worker back in 2017.

In being appointed as captain, Cummins is the first fast bowler to lead Australia since 1956, when Ray Lindwall carried out the role.

The 28-year-old said: “I hope I can provide the same leadership Tim has given the group in the past few years. With Steve and I, a number of very senior players in this squad and some great young talent coming through, we are a tightly knit group.

“This is an unexpected privilege which I am very grateful for and am very much looking forward to.”

Cummins admitted he was “not overly comfortable” about the prospect of being put on a pedestal by the Australian public as the new international Test captain.

He said: “I think that’s probably really hit home in the last few days seeing Tim. I think a lot of the pressure and the responsibility on being perfect is unreasonable. I think it’s too much to ask of anyone. You’ve got to have permission to grow.”

The news came as Paine announced his decision to take a break from cricket following his sexting scandal, which appears to have ruled him out of The Ashes.

Despite the disruption to Australia’s Ashes build-up, the hosts remain the overwhelming favourites to win the upcoming series.

Smith had been previously stripped of the captaincy for the ball-tampering scandal back in 2018 after which Paine took over the role.

After being named vice-captain, Smith said: “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.

“These are exciting times ahead as we focus on the Ashes and beyond.”

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