With the former captain’s vice-captain role, experience and readiness to lead, the cruiser will be crucial when Cummins has the ball, more important than ever.
Cummins said he would trust Smith to take over at certain points on the court, and was also willing to listen to other senior players about when to put him on offense and when, given his rare status as bowling captain.
The 28-year-old will be the second to captain Australia after Ray Lindwall in 1956, and the first to do so full-time.
Spinners also rarely filled the role, with Richie Benaud becoming the last bowler to lead in 1963.
“From the outside, it may look a little different from potential other captains in the past,” Cummins said. Said.
“One of the biggest reasons why fast bowlers can’t be captains in the past is just the workload problem.
“There will be times when I’m 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, tactics and experience.
That’s the main reason why I wanted Steve to be the vice captain.
“There will be times on the court where I’m going to shoot at Steve and you’ll see Steve move the fielders, maybe make bowling changes.”
Cummins and Smith have been playing together since they were teenagers and met earlier this week before they were assigned to plan how they would work together.
After Paine took an immediate hiatus from cricket on Friday following a sexting scandal that delayed his lead, their first challenge is getting the team out of crisis again.
The duo believe the balance of leadership on the pitch will be largely fluid and on some days it will be easier for Cummins to take control than others.
Smith’s experience will likely be valuable, considering Cummins joined Michael Clarke as the only man to become a full-time Test captain without running their state at a top-notch level.
“We’ve known each other for a long time. We’re close friends,” Smith said.
“We get along 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 going forward.
“It’s my job to help Pat and make this team a team that I hope can be successful and that Australia can be proud of.”
Cricket Australia officials also confirmed on Friday that if Cummins misses a game, Smith will take the reins again.
But Australia’s new captain insists it won’t happen often and has no plans to leave the team to rest.
Cummins, who once suffered enough injuries to spend almost 2,000 days between Tests one and two, hasn’t missed a red ball game for Australia since October 2018.
“I’m very skeptical if I’m going to rest from test cricket,” Cummins said.
“I have never rested from a game of test cricket and now I doubt whether I will start.”