Tuesday, October 19, 2021
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New captain Steven Smith promises aggressive approach, Clarke’s career in doubt

Steven-SmithTwenty-five year-old Steven Smith takes over as captain of Australia against India at the Gabba on Wednesday with a promise to pursue an aggressive style of cricket.

Regular skipper Michael Clarke is expected to miss the rest of the four-match Test series due to injury and Cricket Australia (CA) on Monday handed the job to Smith following Australia’s first Test victory in Adelaide at the weekend.

“We’ve been playing some very good cricket and we’re going to continue playing that aggressive, positive brand of cricket,” said Smith, who has played 23 Tests.

“As a captain first and foremost I’ll try to lead from the front with my performance on the field.”

Smith, who becomes the third youngest man to lead his country, smashed 162 not out in the first innings and was 52 not out in the second in Adelaide.

He vowed Australia’s in-your-face attitude will not change. “When we cross the line there are no friends. We`re not friends with the opposition,” Smith said.

CA looked to the long term and first officially appointed Smith as vice-captain to Clarke on Monday before confirming he would therefore lead the Test side in Clarke’s absence.

Veteran wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who captained Australia on the final day in Adelaide, will serve as deputy in Brisbane.

National selector Rod Marsh said: “These are difficult circumstances given Michael’s injury and the fact that we don’t know how long he will be out of the game.

“What we do know is that it won’t be an overnight fix so after a lot of thought we have taken the opportunity to appoint an emerging young leader as captain until such time as Michael regains fitness and returns to the side.

“We congratulate Steve on the wonderful honour of leading his country. On Wednesday he will become Australia’s 45th Test captain and at the age of 25 will become one of our youngest leaders.”

Marsh paid tribute to Haddin, 37, saying he had “done an exceptional job as vice-captain since assuming the role last year and will provide strong support to Steve just as he has done for Michael. There was a strong argument for Brad to assume the captaincy until Michael returns, but given we don’t know how long that will be, we felt the time was right to take a longer-term view and give a young player this chance.”

Clarke is now focusing on getting fit for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, which starts on February 14.

He was disconsolate following Australia’s 48-run first Adelaide Test win over India after being forced off with a torn right hamstring.

Australia lead the four-Test series 1-0. The teams play the third test in Melbourne on Dec. 26 and the final match in Sydney from Jan. 6.

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