In Steve Smith, Australia tab ‘right man for the job’ to captain Test side

Steven Smith, a cricketer of 'extraordinary talent' and 'excellent leadership qualities' will be Australia's next Test captain, the Australian board confirmed on Friday.

Steve Smith's Test average for Australia is 54.66 in 32 matches. Ryan Pierse / Getty Images

Batsman Steve Smith was Friday named Australia's new Test captain to replace Michael Clarke, who announced his retirement after his side's drubbing in the current Ashes series, Cricket Australia said.

David Warner, 28, will be the Test team’s vice-captain.

Smith, who skippered Australia in Tests against India during the last home season when Clarke was sidelined with a hamstring injury, was the natural choice for the position, Cricket Australia said.

“When Michael made his decision to retire last week it was a very straightforward decision for us to nominate Steve as his successor,” national selector Rod Marsh said in a statement.

“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, who was widely expected to replace Clarke and whose appointment was endorsed at Cricket Australia’s August board meeting on Friday, will also be Australia’s T20 captain during their tour of the British Isles, due to Aaron Finch’s injury.

The meeting also endorsed a recommendation that opening batsman Warner serve as Smith’s deputy in Test matches and become vice-captain in the upcoming one-day international series in Ireland and Britain.

Australia’s next Test series is against Bangladesh in September and October.

Marsh said Warner, who has attracted controversy over several incidents including punching England’s Joe Root in 2013, had “matured and developed into an important senior figure in the Australian team”.

“He has come a long way,” Marsh said.

“He had valuable experience captaining the Sunrisers in the IPL (Indian Premier League) 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.”

Clarke, 34, announced he was retiring after England completed a crushing innings and 78-run victory at Trent Bridge in the fourth Test to take an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match Ashes series. He will play his final Test at The Oval later this month.

Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards endorsed the side’s new leadership.

“We have all seen Steve Smith’s clear leadership potential and believe he can perform an excellent job for Australian cricket over many years,” said Edwards.

“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.”

Smith, who scored a century in every Test he captained in Australia last summer, had promised to be less defensive if handed the job of captaining the nation’s eleven.

“If I am named the captain I would like to lead from the front with my performances, for sure,” he said this week.

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