In the wake of Tim Paine’s resignation, Cricket Australia has selected Pat Cummins as Test captain and Steve Smith as his deputy in a historic decision. Cummins will be Australia’s 47th Test skipper and the first bowler to do so since Richie Benaud. A five-person selection panel underwent a thorough interview process, which was ratified by Cricket Australia’s whole board, and it was ultimately determined that Cummins would captain the team for the home series against England.

The panel also chose Steve Smith as the deputy because it is the first concrete step toward Australia reintegrating Smith into the leadership group. Cummins stated in a statement, “I am honoured to accept this job ahead of what will be a big Ashes summer. I’m hoping to be able to provide the same level of leadership that Tim has shown over the last few years. We are a strong and tightly knit bunch, with Steve and I as captains, a number of extremely veteran players in this squad, and some terrific young talent coming through. This is an unexpected honor for which I am grateful and eagerly anticipate.”

After a thorough evaluation of the candidates, selectors George Bailey and Tony Dodemaide, along with CA Board member and former Australia international Mel Jones, interim chair Richard Freudenstein, and CEO Nick Hockley, recommended Cummins as captain. Smith said in a statement, “I am thrilled to return to the leadership of the team and look forward to assisting Pat in any way I can. Pat and I have been playing together for a long time and are very familiar with each other’s techniques. We, as well as the rest of the gang, are excellent buddies. We aim to play good, positive cricket as a team while also enjoying each other’s company. As we focus on the Ashes and beyond, exciting times are ahead.”