Australian fast-bowler Pat Cummins was confirmed as Australia’s Test captain after Tim Paine stepped down following a sexting scandal. Steve Smith, former Australia captain, was named his deputy. Cummins, who is Australia’s 47th Test captain, became Australia’s first-ever fast-bowler to don the captain’s hat.

Cummins was selected captain after an interview process with a five-person selection pane and ratification from the full board of Cricket Australia. He is the first bowler of any kind to captain the team since Richie Benaud.

Cummins, the world’s No.1 ranked Test bowler, said it was an “unexpected” honour.

“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.

“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.”

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 put forward Cummins as the captain after a rigorous assessment of candidates.

“I am pleased to return to the leadership of the team and look forward to helping and assisting Pat in any way I can,” Steve Smith said in a statement.

“Pat and I have played together for a long time, so we know our respective styles well.

“We are also great friends, as is the whole group. As a team, we want to play good, positive cricket and also really enjoy each other’s company.

“There are exciting times ahead as we focus on the Ashes and beyond.”

Cummins’ appointment to the Test captaincy, often described as the second most important job in the country behind the Prime Minister, is a significant departure from tradition.