Steven Smith returns to a leadership position with the vice leadership
Cummins, who was interviewed for the top job along with former captain Smith, was approved by the CA board Thursday night on the recommendation of a five-person panel consisting of chairman Richard Freudenstein, CEO Nick Hockley, CEO Mel Jones and voters George Bailey and Tony Dodemaide.
“I am honored to accept this role ahead of what will be a massive Ashes summer. I hope I can give the same leadership Tim [Paine] has given the group the last few years, “said Cummins.” With Steve and I as captains, a number of very senior players in this squad and some great young talents coming through, we are a strong and close-knit group.
“This is an unexpected privilege that I am very grateful for and very much looking forward to.”
Cummins has been earmarked as a potential future captain for a number of years, but was overlooked to a vice captain position in 2018 before being elevated to a shared role in 2019 and then as the individual understudy in 2020.
“Pat is an excellent player and leader. He has gained tremendous respect from his teammates and from all corners of the game for his attitude and performance, both on and off the pitch,” Hockley said. “We are extremely fortunate to have an experienced group of senior players who are excellent leaders themselves. I have no doubt that Pat and Steve will be well supported in their respective leadership roles.”
His only professional captaincy experience is with the New South Wales one-day team last season, when he captained them in four matches in what became a trophy-winning campaign, even though he missed the final due to the IPL.
When NSW gave him the job, it was with a view to him becoming an Australian captain at some point due to concerns that candidates for the post were not given sufficient opportunities at the state level.
It will be a step into the unknown for Australian cricket, where the men’s team has not been captain of a fast bowler since Ray Lindwall did so on a single occasion in 1956.
Given the strain of fast bowling, there is a good chance that Smith will take the helm at some point during their tenure.
“I’m happy to return to the leadership of the team and look forward to helping and assisting Pat in any way I can,” Smith said. “Pat and I have been playing together for a long time, so we know our respective styles well.”
Initially, the timeline for the transition from Paine to a new captain could be earmarked for after the ashes, but last week’s events meant the process was put forward quickly, though the CA said it would be a rigorous process with significant background checks for candidates.
As an integral part of all three formats, there was already a huge burden for Cummins, although his tenure as a fast bowler has been unique since his comeback in 2017. He has only missed two of Australia’s last 35 Tests, although they have only played nine matches since the 2019 trip to England due to Covid-19 postponements.
Cummins is currently part of Australia’s T20 World Cup and Australia A contingent is still in quarantine on the Gold Coast. When they show up next week, there will be a short and intense introduction to Ashes, where Cummins must quickly understand the various requirements to be Australia’s captain before heading out to toss the coin with Joe Root at Gabba on December 8. .