New skipper Cummins welcomes Smith's help

Fast bowler Pat Cummins (l) is Australia's new Test captain, with Steve Smith as his deputy.
Fast bowler Pat Cummins (l) is Australia's new Test captain, with Steve Smith as his deputy.

New Test captain Pat Cummins will embrace a new-age model of collaborative on-field leadership after getting his wish to have Steve Smith as his vice-captain.

Cummins was confirmed as Australia's 47th men's Test skipper on Friday, just a week after Tim Paine resigned and only 12 days out from the first Ashes Test at the Gabba.

Smith will be his deputy, earning his first return to a leadership position since the sins of Sandpaper-gate three-and-a-half years ago.

The former captain's role as vice-captain will be more important than ever, with his experience and readiness to lead crucial when paceman Cummins has ball in hand.

Cummins indicated he will rely on Smith to take over at certain points on field, and is also willing to listen to other senior players on when to take himself in and out of the attack, given his rare status as a bowling captain.

The 28-year-old will become just the second quick to captain Australia after Ray Lindwall in 1956, and the first to do it on a full-time basis.

Spinners have also rarely filled the role, with Richie Benaud in 1963 the last bowler to lead at all.

"It might look a little bit different from the outside to potentially other captains in the past," Cummins said.

"One of the big reasons why there's been talk around fast bowlers not being able to captain in the past, is just the workload issue

"There's going to be times where I'm out in the middle, it's a hot day, I'm in the middle of a spell and I need to turn to people for advice, for tactics, for experience.

"And that's the main reason why I wanted Steve to be vice-captain.

"There will be times on the field where I'll throw to Steve and you'll see Steve move fielders around, maybe doing bowling changes."

Cummins and Smith have played together since the former was a teenager, and met earlier this week before even being appointed to map out how they would work together.

Their first challenge shapes as bringing the team out of crisis again, after Paine took an immediate break from cricket on Friday following the sexting scandal which belatedly ended his leadership.

The pair believe the leadership balance on-field will largely be fluid, with some days easier for Cummins to take control than others in searing heat.

Smith's experience will likely prove valuable considering Cummins joins Michael Clarke as the only men to be full-time Test captain without leading their state at a first-class level.

"We've known each other a long time. We're close friends," Smith said.

"We get on really well and I think we complement each other really well.

"I'm really excited and I think this could be a really great partnership together going forward.

"It's my job to help Pat and help grow this team into one hopefully that can be successful and one that Australia will be proud of."

Cricket Australia officials also confirmed on Friday that if Cummins was to miss a game, it would be Smith who would regain the reins.

But Australia's new captain is insistent that won't happen often, with no plans of being rotated out of the team to rest.

Once so injury-plagued that he went almost 2000 days between his first and second Tests, Cummins has not missed a red-ball game for Australia since October 2018.

"I very much doubt if I'll rest from Test cricket," Cummins said.

"I've never rested from a game of Test cricket and I doubt if I'll start now."

Australian Associated Press