Steve Smith
Steve Smith

Cricket Australia has announced that Steven Smith will take over the captaincy of Australia from Michael Clarke after the latter retires from international cricket following the last Test of the ongoing Ashes series at the Kennington Oval. David Warner will be his deputy.

Smith, 26, was being seen as heir apparent for quite some time, and according to the chairman of selectors Rod Marsh, it was a straightforward decision to appoint him as the successor to Clarke.

“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.”

Smith was the captain of the New South Wales team that won the 2014 Sheffield Shield and also led the Sydney Sixers to the 2012 Big Bash League title. He had also captained Australia in three Tests against India last year in the absence of Michael Clarke, and scored a century in each of the matches.

Meanwhile, the appointment of opening batsman David Warner as vice-captain points to his growing maturity as well as seniority in the team. The 28 year-old had faced a suspension on the last Ashes tour when he punched Joe Root in a Birmingham bar, but now seems to have worked much on his attitude. He has been a consistent performer for the team alongside Steven Smith in the recent times.

“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.”

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