Steven Smith appointed 45th Australian Test captain
Cricket Australia (CA) has announced that Steven Smith has been appointed vice-captain of the Australian Test team effective immediately, and that he is to lead his country for whatever duration Michael Clarke is unable to return to action.
Clarke pulled up abruptly on Day V of the Adelaide Test while fielding, and is out for an indefinite duration with an injured right hamstring. He is expected to miss the remainder of the Commonwealth Bank Test Series against India. Australia’s 45th Test captain, Smith, is therefore set to be the second new inspirational leader that this series will have seen the birth of.
When Clarke does return to the side he will do so as captain, with Smith serving as deputy. Brad Haddin, who led the Australian side on the final day of the Adelaide Test, will serve as Smith’s deputy in Brisbane and for the immediate future.
Smith seen as emerging young leader
National Selector Rod Marsh said: “These are difficult circumstances given Michael’s injury and the fact that we don’t know how long he will be out of the game.
“What we do know is that it won’t be an overnight fix so after a lot of thought we have taken the opportunity to appoint an emerging young leader as captain until such time as Michael regains fitness and returns to the side.
“We congratulate Steve on the wonderful honour of leading his country. On Wednesday he will become Australia’s 45th Test captain and at the age of 25 will become one of our youngest leaders. He is an exceptional young man who is highly regarded by the National Selection Panel not only for his fine performances with the bat but also his maturity and clear leadership potential.”
Smith is the third youngest captain in Australian history after Ian Craig in 1958, and Kim Hughes in 1979.
??“Brad Haddin has done an exceptional job as vice-captain since assuming the role last year and will provide strong support to Steve just as he has done for Michael.
??“There was a strong argument for Brad to assume the captaincy until Michael returns, but given we don’t know how long that will be, we felt the time was right to take a longer-term view and give a young player this chance.”
??Commenting on the announcement, CA Chairman Wally Edwards said: “The Board fully endorsed the recommendation put forward by the selectors. Steve is an impressive young leader who deserves high praise for his temperament and on-field performances to date. We believe he will do an excellent job when given the chance to captain his country against India.”??
Captaincy an amazing thrill
Addressing the media, Steven Smith said, “I’m ready. I’ve had leadership experience in captaining older guys. Brad Haddin will be right behind me. I spoke with Michael Clarke this morning. He’s very proud of me and he’s very excited for me to lead Australia.
“It’s an amazing thrill. It’s been a whirlwind 18 months for me.”
Currently tied at 1-0 in favour of the host nation, the Commonwealth Bank Test Series resumes at the Gabba in Brisbane on Wednesday, 17 December.