Australia have confirmed Pat Cummins will take over as Test captain for the upcoming Ashes following Tim Paine’s involvement in a sexting scandal.
Just hours earlier, Paine announced he would be taking an indefinite break from all forms of cricket to protect his mental health despite initially being named as skipper for Australia’s 15-man squad to take on England last week.
The 36-year-old wicket-keeper-batsman first captained the Test team against Pakistan back in October 2018 and it appears unlikely he will lead the side again.
Pace bowler Cummins has been supporting Paine as vice-captain for the last two years, with Travis Head also promoted to a leadership position in January 2019.
Steve Smith, Australia’s captain from 2015 until the 2018 ball-tampering scandal, will serve as deputy to Cummins for this winter’s five-match Test series Down Under.
In a statement this morning, CA chief executive Nick Hockley praised Cummins and said he was the ideal candidate for the role due to his ‘outstanding’ leadership qualities.
He added: ‘He has earned enormous respect from his team-mates and from all corners of the game for his attitude and achievements, both on and off the field.
‘We are extremely fortunate to have an experienced group of senior players who themselves are superb leaders.
‘I have no doubt that Pat and Steve will be well supported in their respective leadership roles.’
Cummins said it was an ‘unexpected privilege’ to lead the side Down Under, with the first ball bowled in under a fortnight at the Gabba on December 8.
‘I am honoured to accept this role ahead of what will be a massive Ashes summer,’ he stated.
‘I hope I can provide the same leadership Tim has given the group in the past few years.
‘With Steve 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.
‘This is an unexpected privilege which I am very grateful for and am very much looking forward to.’
In a short statement, Paine’s manager, James Henderson, expressed his concern for the the well-being of his client and Paine’s wife Bonnie.
‘I am confirming that Paine is stepping away from cricket for an indefinite mental health break,’ Henderson tweeted.
‘We are extremely concerned for his and Bonnie’s well-being and will be making no further comment at this time.’
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