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Steve Smith named Australia's next Test captain

Steve Smith (left) and David Warner (right) posing for a photo after being announced as new Australian Test captain and vice-captain respectively.
Steve Smith (left) and David Warner (right) posing for a photo after being announced as new Australian Test captain and vice-captain respectively.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Steve Smith is set to take over as the new Test captain of Australia following current skipper Michael Clarke's retirement after the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval.

In a press release the National Selection Panel of Cricket Australia (CA) said his promotion was an atutomatic decision, lauding the 26-year-old's leadership qualities.

Chairman of Selectors Rod Marsh revealed that the selectors had been impressed by Smith’s captaincy during the home series against India when Clarke missed out due to injury.

“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,” said Marsh.

“When Michael made his decision to retire last week it was a very straightforward decision for us to nominate Steve as his successor.”

Marsh knows that replacing Clarke as a skipper is an enormous challenge but is equally confident of Smith fulfilling the role.

Smith had been in terrific form over the last 18 months with his performances having seen him momentarily take up the number one rank among Test batsmen before Joe Root dethroned him.

Earlier in the week, Smith was also appointed as Australia’s new one-day captain for the tour of England and Ireland while also being asked to lead the Twenty20 International side in Aaron Finch’s absence.

With age and temperament on Smith’s side, Marsh feels that the right-hander will blossom as Australia’s new leader.

“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.”

The other major decision made by the selectors is the appointment of explosive batsman David Warner as Smith’s deputy in Tests and ODIs.

Marsh explained that the decision to pick Warner was influenced after seeing the left-hander’s growing maturity as a player as well as from his brief but impressive captaincy stint in the Indian Premier League this year.

With an additional responsibility on Warner, Marsh hopes that the 28-year-old will show more resolve as a senior player of the team.

“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.”

CA Chairman Wally Edwards echoed Marsh’s feelings on the two appointments and was lavish in his praise of Smith and Warner.

“The Board discussed the recommendation put forward by the selectors.

“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.”

The first assignment for Smith and Warner with their new roles will be the one-off ODI against Ireland in Belfast on 27th August.

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