Ashes 2021: Cricket Australia on Friday announced Pat Cummins as the 47th men’s Test captain and Steve Smith as his deputy. The decision was announced after the post of Australian Test team skipper fell vacant ahead of the five-Test Ashes series following 37-year-old wicketkeeper-batter Tim Paine stepping down recently over a sexting scandal with a former Cricket Tasmania staffer.

“I am honoured to accept this role ahead of what will be a massive Ashes summer. I hope I can provide the same leadership Tim (Paine) 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”, Cummins, who will lead Australia out against England at The Gabba on December 8 said in a statement.

With this appointment, Cummins has become the first pace bowler since Ray Lindwall, who captained for one Test in 1956, to be appointed skipper of the men’s team.

Cricket Australia’s selection committee, which also includes head coach Justin Langer, had submitted the names of potential candidates to a five-member panel led by CA chairman of selectors George Bailey and also includes Tony Dodemaide, former Australia batter and CA board member Mel Jones, chief executive Nick Hockley and chair Richard Freudenstein.

Ashes 2021

The Ashes are set to start on December 8 with the first Test scheduled to take place at the iconic Gabba. The series has got slightly delayed because the Australian players returning from India after the scheduled ICC T20 World Cup had to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Men’s Ashes schedule

1st Test: December 8-12, Gabba

2nd Test: December 16-20, Adelaide Oval (D/N)

3rd Test: December 26-30, MCG

4th Test: January 5-9, SCG

5th Test: January 14-18, Perth

(With agency inputs)