Pat Cummins has been confirmed as Australia’s captain for the Ashes against England, with former skipper Steve Smith to work as his deputy (Australia 3/10, England 4/1, Draw 8/1 – Series Betting).

Fast bowler Cummins has been handed the captaincy duties following Tim Paine’s decision to step down from the role and take a break from the sport, while Smith returns to a senior position within the squad after being stripped of the captaincy in 2018 for his involvement in the well-publicised ball-tampering scandal.

Cummins is only the second pace bowler to be named as Australia’s Test skipper, following in the footsteps of Ray Lindwall, who led the team in 1956, while he is the first bowler of any kind to hold the position since Richie Benaud 57 years ago.

The 28-year-old Cummins, who was part of the Australia squad that won this month’s T20 World Cup, admits it is an honour to have been handed the captaincy ahead of the Ashes and he believes the Baggy Greens are well placed to enjoy a successful series.

“I am honoured to accept this role ahead of what will be a massive Ashes summer,” Cummins told reporters. “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.”

Cummins is currently the number one ranked bowler in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings, although it has not been an easy road to the top of the sport for the New South Wales native, who made his Test debut for Australia in 2011, but had to wait six years for his next appearance due to a number of injury issues.

Since returning to the fold, Cummins has certainly impressed, particularly against England, as he has finished as the leading wicket taker in each of the last two Ashes series.

In the 2017-18 series in Australia, Cummins (11/4 to be top series wicket taker) took 23 wickets as his side triumphed 4-0, while he went even better on English soil in 2019, securing 29 wickets in a 2-2 series draw that meant his side retained the urn.

The 2020-21 Ashes series will get underway next month, with the first Test taking place in Brisbane between December 8-12.

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