Ashes: Pat Cummins gets Australia skipper cap, Steve Smith deputy
Pat Cummins was confirmed as Australia’s 47th Test captain on Friday and he will be supported by new vice-captain Steve Smith as the team try to get their house in order ahead of the Ashes. Cummins takes over from Tim Paine, who resigned from captaincy following the revelation of a ‘sexting’ scandal from the past.
While Cummins becomes only the second fast bowler to captain the side after Ray Lindwall, who led for one Test against India in the mid-1950s, Smith returns to a formal leadership role for the first time since losing the captaincy during the Newlands ball-tampering scandal in 2018.
As former skipper Paine’s vice-captain, Cummins was considered a shoo-in to replace the wicketkeeper, who on Friday stepped away from all cricket to take a “mental health break”. But not everybody in Australia’s cricketing fraternity is convinced with the move to appoint Smith as deputy.
Former spinner Shane Warne was completely opposed to Smith’s promotion, saying it would invite ridicule. Greg Chappell, a former captain, wrote in his column for Sydney Morning Herald that he would have like Marnus Labuschagne as Cummins’ deputy.
But Cummins himself wanted Smith. “There’s a couple of more unknowns about having a bowling captain and that’s why I think from the outset I was absolutely determined if I was captain to have someone like Steve as vice-captain next to me,” Cummins told reporters from the team’s Gold Coast base.
Smith, sitting beside Cummins, said he understood there would be “negativity”. “But for me, I know that I’ve grown a great deal over the last three or four years,” he said. “I’m a more rounded individual.”