(Reuters) - Former fast bowler Geoff Lawson has hailed Pat Cummins' appointment as Australia's captain after the 28-year-old was named Tim Paine's replacement.
Cummins is Australia's 47th captain and the first fast bowler to lead the team in 65 years, prompting Lawson to celebrate the New South Welshman's promotion to the top job ahead of the upcoming Ashes series against England.
"The stranglehold has been broken, the envelope pushed and the pace ceiling smashed," Lawson, who played 46 tests for Australia, wrote in his column in the Sydney Morning Herald.
"A cricketer, whose main skill...is to bowl fast, has been granted the office of national captain.
"Cricket realists all over the continent are sighing with relief after turning blue from holding their breath since...Tim Paine resigned."
Ray Lindwall was the last fast bowler to captain Australia when he led the country in a single test against India in Mumbai in 1956.
While fast bowlers have rarely been given the captaincy in the past, Lawson believes holding the post will inspire Cummins to raise his game to new levels in a manner similar to former captain Richie Benaud.
"Benaud's personal performances were inspirational with bat and ball," he wrote of the all-rounder. "Captaincy made him a better player through the pressure to lead by example. Cummins can do the same."
Cummins was promoted from the role of vice-captain after Paine stood down following a "sexting" scandal. Paine has since announced he will take "a mental health break" from all forms of the game.
Cummins' appointment comes two weeks before Australia take on England in the first Ashes test in Brisbane, which starts on Dec. 8.
"A fast bowler captain...has arrived at long, long last and what a series to be blooded in," wrote Lawson.
"Quickies all over the country are standing taller today, their status changed forever."
(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Sam Holmes)