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Fast bowler Pat Cummins is new Australia Test captain

Cummins replaces Tim Paine who resigned over a sex-texting scandal

73-Pat-Cummins [File] Pat Cummins | Getty Images

Pat Cummins has been named the first fast bowler to captain Australia's Test cricket team on a fulltime basis and former skipper Steve Smith returns from leadership wilderness to become the team's vice captain.

Cricket Australia made both announcements on Friday. Cummins, who had been vice captain, replaces Tim Paine, who resigned last week over a sex-texting scandal four years ago. Cricket Australia said on Friday that Paine advised them he would be "stepping away from cricket for a period of time."

"We recognise that this is an incredibly difficult time for Tim and his family and are committed to supporting them," Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley said in a statement. "We respect and understand Tim's decision to have a break at this time to focus on his and his family's well-being."

The last fast bowler to lead Australia at test level was Ray Lindwall for a single match in 1956, and only as a stand-in. Cummins is Australia's 47th Test captain.

Smith was fired from the captaincy after the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in 2018. As well as losing the captaincy, he was banned from any leadership roles for two years.

"I am honoured to accept this role ahead of what will be a massive Ashes summer," Cummins said in a statement.

"I hope I can provide the same leadership Tim (Paine) has given the group in the past few years."

The first of five Ashes Tests against England begins on December 8 in Brisbane. "Pat is an outstanding player and leader," Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley said.

"He has earned enormous respect from his teammates and from all corners of the game for his attitude and achievements, both on and off the field."

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