Smith named captain, Warner appointed as deputy

Smith (left) will lead Australia after the ongoing Ashes series, while Warner (right) will serve as his deputy

Smith (left) will lead Australia after the ongoing Ashes series, while Warner (right) will serve as his deputy

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

As expected, Steven Smith will succeed Michael Clarke as Australia’s captain, while explosive opening batsman David Warner has been handed the vice-captaincy role.

Smith replacing Clarke comes as no surprise, but Warner was chosen to be his deputy after chairman of selectors Rod Marsh noticed that the 28-year-old had improved his on and off field conduct drastically since he was suspended for throwing a punch at England batsman Joe Root in a Birmingham bar during the 2013 Champions Trophy.

“We have reached a point in time where we’ve had to look at our leadership positions again with an eye to the future,” Marsh said. “David has matured and developed into an important senior figure in the Australian team. He has come a long way.

“He had valuable experience captaining the Sunrisers in the IPL earlier this year and we are confident he will provide strong support to Steve as his deputy. We believe that he will respond well to the added responsibility of leadership.”

Smith meanwhile has already had a taste of being captain as he led the Baggy Greens for a majority of their Test series against India in December last year after captain Michael Clarke tore his hamstring and succumbed to his chronic back problems in the first Test.

Smith led by example throughout that series as he scored 769 runs, which included four centuries and two half-centuries, at an average of 128.16.

“We have had a clear succession plan in place for the captaincy with Steve Smith gaining valuable experience leading the Australian Test Team while Michael Clarke was recovering from injury last season,” Marsh said. “When Michael made his decision to retire last week it was a very straightforward decision for us to nominate Steve as his successor.

“He has big shoes to fill but everything about him suggests he is the right man for the job. At 26, he is a fine young man with extraordinary talent, excellent leadership qualities and a terrific temperament. He is highly regarded by the selectors and we congratulate him on being appointed to the role on an ongoing basis. He should be incredibly proud.”

Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards added: “We have all seen Steve Smith’s clear leadership potential and believe he can perform an excellent job for Australian cricket over many years.

“We supported the recommendation to appoint David Warner as vice-captain, noting his role as a leading batsmen, his development and emergence as a leader within the team. We congratulate both men on their appointments.”

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