Pat Cummins has been named the next Australian cricket Test captain – the first fast bowler in six decades to land the coveted position.
Cummins, 28, will lead Australia out against England in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba in Brisbane on December 8, with Steve Smith his deputy.
NSW raised Cummins will become the first Australia paceman since Ray Lindwall in 1957 to captain his country in five-day Test cricket.
While the decision may raise some eyebrows, former Australia spinner Kerry O’Keeffe is adamant Cummins is the right choice.
‘People say, ‘he’s a fast bowler’. But you look back and one of the most successful Test captains, who never gets mentioned, is Shaun Pollock from South Africa,’ O’Keeffe said.
‘And I see Pat Cummins doing a similar thing for Australia.. he is a leader.’
The new captain: Pat Cummins is the first fast bowler in six decades to captain Australia
NSW raised Pat Cummins made his Test debut aged 17 – and at 28, he will captain Australia against England in the Ashes from December 8
The Penrith junior has overcome a succession of injuries early in his career to become a key member of the Australian Test team
It comes after former skipper Tim Paine took a leave of absence on Friday from all forms of cricket ‘for the foreseeable future’.
Paine’s manager James Henderson confirmed on Twitter he is ‘extremely concerned’ for his and (wife) Bonnie’s current well-being.’
Paine, 36, stood down as Australia’s men’s Test captain last week after revelations of a sexting scandal in 2017.
Teammates wanted the veteran wicketkeeper to play the first Test at the Gabba against England on December 8, but Cricket Tasmania confirmed Paine will miss Friday’s one-dayer versus Western Australia so he can take an indefinite break from the sport.
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Tim Paine is taking a leave of absence from all forms of cricket ‘for the foreseeable future’
The married father of two (pictured with wife Bonnie) sent a female staffer from Cricket Tasmania a number of suggestive texts as well as a unsolicited image
In a statement, Cricket Tasmania announced that the 36-year-old would ‘be taking a leave of absence from all forms of cricket for the foreseeable future.’
‘Tim’s decision makes him unavailable for selection for today’s (Friday) Marsh One-Day Cup match against Western Australia,’ the statement read.
‘Cricket Tasmania will continue to support Tim and his family both professionally and personally over the summer.’
His manager James Henderson also confirmed Paine is ‘stepping away from cricket for an indefinite mental health break.’
He added on Twitter there are ‘extreme concerns’ for the well-being of Paine and his wife Bonnie.
Paine’s decision to take an indefinite break means he is unlikely to play Test cricket again.
Cricket Tasmania boss Dominic Baker said Paine is prioritising his welfare and the welfare of his family.
‘It’s a traumatic event for him… a week ago he was the Australian captain, so these things take time,’ he told ABC radio in Hobart.
‘I think he’s done the right thing.’
Alex Carey or the Yorkshire-born Josh Inglis, who emigrated to Australia at the age of 15, loom as Paine’s likely replacements behind the stumps.
Queenslander Jimmy Peirson and T20 World Cup hero Matthew Wade are other options for Test selectors.
It is a spectacular fall from grace for Paine, who was promoted to captain in the aftermath of the Sandpapergate scandal in South Africa back in 2018 that saw Steve Smith resign in tears.
Paine confirmed he would no longer lead the team ahead of the Ashes in a press conference last Friday after a sexting scandal from 2017 was made public.
An emotional Paine said his decision to stand down was ‘incredibly difficult’ – but was the ‘right one for me, my family and cricket’.
‘Nearly four years ago, I was involved in a text exchange with a then-colleague,’ Paine said.
‘At the time, the exchange was the subject of a thorough CA Integrity Unit investigation, throughout which I fully participated in and openly participated in.
‘That investigation and a Cricket Tasmania HR investigation at the same time found that there had been no breach of the Cricket Australia Code of Conduct.
‘Although exonerated, I deeply regretted this incident at the time, and still do today. I spoke to my wife and family at the time and am enormously grateful for their forgiveness and support.’
Australia test cricket captain Tim Paine, 36, sent a series of raunchy texts to a female Cricket Tasmania colleague
Paine, a father of two, went on to add he was recently made aware his lewd conduct was about to made public and that his actions were unacceptable in his coveted role as the Test captain of Australia.
‘I’m deeply sorry for the hurt and pain that I have caused to my wife, my family, and to the other party,’ he said.
‘I’m sorry for any damage that this does to the reputation of our sport. I do not want this to become an unwelcome disruption to the team ahead of what is a huge Ashes series.
‘I have loved my role as captain of the Australian cricket team. It’s been the greatest privilege of my sporting life to lead the Australian men’s test team. I’m grateful for the support of my teammates and proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together.’
Paine also asked for ‘understanding and forgiveness’ from his teammates before also apologising to cricket fans across the nation.
Tim Paine’s rise and dramatic fall in sexting scandal
Australian captain Tim Paine walks to change ends during a cricket test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground, in Sydney, Australia on Jan. 9, 2021
2010: Tim Paine makes his Test debut against Pakistan, replacing injured Brad Haddin, but is dumped upon the incumbent’s return
April 2016: Paine marries Bonnie Maggs
November 17, 2017: Granted shock recall for Ashes series
November 22-23, 2017: Paine sends lewd messages to a female coworker on the eve and morning of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane. The pair had exchanged texts throughout the year
January 2018: Selected for squad to tour South Africa
March 25, 2018: Appointed interim captain after Steve Smith and David Warner stood down over ‘sandpapergate’ ball tampering scandal
March 28, 2018: Paine is appointed captain for the 4th Test of the series, becoming the 46th captain of the Australian side
April 2018: Awarded a national contract by Cricket Australia
June 2018: Cricket Australia and Cricket Tasmania become aware of the messages and launch an investigation, following a complaint from the woman. Paine claims he was exonerated during the investigation. His wife Bonnie was aware of the messages but chose to stick by him
2018 – 2021: Paine continues as Test captain, retaining the Ashes in England in 2019
November 19, 2021: Paine steps down as full details of the explicit messages surface
Need to talk to someone about your mental health?
- Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au
- Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 or beyondblue.org.au
- Selectability: 1800 133 123
- Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 or kidshelpline.com.au
- Headspace: 1800 650 890 or headspace.org.au