Ashes: Tim Paine takes break from Cricket, Cummins to lead the side.

Ashes 2021: Tim Paine.

Ashes 2021: The greatest rivalry is now only a few weeks away. But the drama is already on. Tim Paine stepping down as Australian skipper and now he takes an ‘indefinite mental health break’ from cricket.

Cricket Australia has named Pat Cummins as the leader with Steven Smith will be supporting him as vice-captain.

CA chief executive Nick Hockley said in a statement Cummins was an “outstanding player and leader”.

“He has earned enormous respect from his teammates and from all corners of the game for his attitude and achievements, both on and off the field,” Hockley added.

Ashes 2021: Pat Cummins.
Pat Cummins.

“We are extremely fortunate to have an experienced group of senior players who themselves are superb leaders. I have no doubt that Pat and Steve will be well supported in their respective leadership roles.”

Cummins said: “I am honored 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.”

Ashes 2021: Tim Paine.
Tim Paine.

Tim Paine steps away from Ashes.

Tim Paine was due to play for Tasmania in a domestic one-day match in Hobart, However, he will be absent for some time as confirmed by State’s cricket association. ”Confirming that @tdpaine36 is stepping away from cricket for an indefinite mental health break,” Paine’s manager James Henderson wrote in a social media post.

Tim Paine was investigated for sending sexually explicit text messages to a former Cricket Tasmania’s female colleague staffer four years ago. However, he was cleared by Cricket Tasmania and Cricket Australia in 2018.

He stepped down last Friday, saying he did not want his captaincy to be a distraction during the Ashes. Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley said Paine had advised the board of his decision to step away from the game.”We recognize that this is an incredibly difficult time for Tim and his family and are committed to supporting them,” Hockley said in a statement.

“We respect and understand Tim’s decision to have a break at this time to focus on his and his family’s well-being,” said Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting.