The Australian Cricket team is starting to look towards the next generation, beyond the career of Michael Clarke, with the announcement today that Steve Smith has been promoted to the position of Vice Captain, and will assume the captaincy in the absence of the injured Clarke for the remainder of the ongoing Test Series against India.
Clarke injured his hamstring during the final day of the 1st test in Adelaide, in which Australia sensationally roared to victory thanks to a spectacular batting collapse by the visiting Indian team. The severity of the injury was revealed following scans, necessitating that Clarke sit out the remainder of the test series, leading him to openly pondering his playing future.
Though Clarke’s deputy Brad Haddin had been tipped to take over the reigns temporarily for the second test in Brisbane due to begin on Wednesday, it’s long been agreed that his age (37) makes him unsuitable to stand in as captain for any prolonged period of time; in such events it was always Haddin and Cricket Australia‘s preference that a more permanent successor in the role be blooded into it.
Thus, the baby-faced Smith was unveiled as the 45th captain of the Australian cricket team, becoming the third youngest man to do so in the process. At 25 years and 195 days, Smith is behind only Kim Hughes (who assumed the role in 1979 aged 25 years, 57 days) and Ian Craig (who was just 22 when he earned the top job in 1958) in terms of youthful skippers.
Smith has no international captaincy experience, and relatively limited experience in the test arena with 23 tests logged and a batting average of 46.02.
However, he did captain New South Wales in a successful Sheffield Shield campaign last season.
The Cricket Australia board has given its full support behind the move.
“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.“
Shaun Marsh looks set to come into the side to replace the injured Clarke.
Photo: Matt Roberts via Getty Images.