Cummins named Australia Test captain, Smith vice-captain

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SYDNEY: Fast bowler Pat Cummins was named the 47th captain of the Australia test team on November 26 in place of Tim Paine, who stood down from the position last week.

Paine resigned after revelations that he had been investigated and cleared over sexually explicit text messages sent to a female former colleague four years ago.

Cummins (28) becomes only the second specialist fast bowler to take the captaincy after Ray Lindwall, who led for one test against India in the mid-1950s.

“I am honoured to accept this role ahead of what will be a massive Ashes summer,” said Cummins in a statement. “I hope I can provide the same leadership Tim [Paine] has given the group in the past few years.

“With Steve [Smith] 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.”

As vice-captain, Cummins was the obvious choice to replace Paine and his appointment enables a rapid transition with the start of the Ashes series against England less than two weeks away.

Smith replaces Cummins as vice-captain, returning to a formal leadership role after serving a 12-month ban and a two-year leadership suspension in the wake of the Newlands ball-tampering scandal in 2018.

Popular, telegenic and amiable in public, Cummins has taken over as Australia’s leading paceman in recent seasons and tops the ICC’s test bowling rankings.

Even before Paine’s embarrassing resignation a procession of former players and pundits had endorsed Cummins as Australia’s captain-in-waiting, despite former skipper Smith’s hopes of returning to the role.

“I just think Pat Cummins has developed into a more integral part of that team and grown in his knowledge of the game and experiences he’s had,” former Australia wicketkeeper and captain Adam Gilchrist told Reuters last week.

Cummins will have plenty of support to lean on in the team, though Paine has taken an indefinite mental health break.

While he takes on the captaincy sooner than planned, he has served something of an apprenticeship as New South Wales skipper in the domestic one-day competition.

Tim Paine takes indefinite mental health break from cricket

MELBOURNE: Former Australia test cricket captain Tim Paine is set to miss the first Ashes test and is taking an indefinite mental health break from the game.

The news comes a week after Paine tearfully quit as captain after revelations of a scandal involving the sending of inappropriate texts to a female co-worker in 2017.

Cricket Australia, which named fast bowler Pat Cummins as Paine’s replacement on November 26, said Paine advised them he would be “stepping away from cricket for a period of time.”

“We recognize that this is an incredibly difficult time for Tim and his family and are committed to supporting them,” Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley said in a statement. “We respect and understand Tim’s decision to have a break at this time to focus on his and his family’s well-being.”

Paine’s teammates were hoping for the wicketkeeper to play on December 8 — his 37th birthday — when Australia’s five-test series against England begins in Brisbane. As of November 25, the veteran was scheduled to join the test squad this weekend.

Paine was called up and set to bat in Tasmania’s one-day match against Western Australia on November 26, giving him a chance to play five consecutive days of cricket after a low-key return via the state’s second XI.

But Cricket Tasmania (CT) said on November 26 that Paine would not take his spot in the side.

“Following discussions over the last 24 hours, Tim Paine has advised Cricket Tasmania that he will be taking a leave of absence from all forms of cricket for the foreseeable future,” CT said in a statement. “Cricket Tasmania will continue to support Tim and his family both professionally and personally over the summer.”

Likely wicketkeeper replacements for Paine in the test side are Alex Carey or Josh Inglis.

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