Pat Cummins named Australia Test captain as Tim Paine takes break from cricket

Cummins becomes first fast bowler to captain Aussies since 1956

Australia named fast bowler Pat Cummins as their Test captain and Steve Smith as deputy on Friday after Tim Paine quit the post last week, just ahead of the Ashes.

On a dramatic day for Australian cricket, Cummins' appointment came hours after it was announced that former captain Paine will take a break from the sport, ruling him out of the home Ashes series against England.

Cummins becomes the 47th captain of the Australian men's Test team while Smith returns to a key leadership role, having been forced to stand down as skipper for his part in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal.

Cummins, 28, is the first fast bowler to lead Australia since 1956.

After Paine's exit, Cummins knows that there will be intense scrutiny of his behaviour on and off the field, especially with the Ashes starting on December 8 in Brisbane.

"When it comes to moral character, I am my own harshest judge," said Cummins, who takes on one of the highest-profile roles in Australia.

"I am not perfect and there will be things that pop up, but as long as I can sleep at night, I am really comfortable with the rest of that."

Cummins is one of the world's premier bowlers. His 34 Tests have yielded 164 wickets at 21.59, to go with 111 ODI scalps and 42 in T20s.

But he has little experience as a leader, despite being elevated to vice-captain in 2019.

Cummins, who described himself as "excited rather than nervous", said that he will be drawing heavily on the experience of Smith, 32.

Smith will have "a bit more of an elevated vice-captain role", Cummins told reporters.

Smith acknowledged that "there will be some negativity" surrounding his return to the leadership fold, but added: "I am a more rounded individual [than back in 2018] and in turn that's turned me into a better leader".

Earlier on Friday, Cricket Tasmania said that the 36-year-old Paine would immediately leave all forms of the game for the "foreseeable future".

Updated: November 26th 2021, 8:04 AM