Melbourne: Steven Smith will captain Australia’s Test team for the rest of the series against India, with regular skipper Michael Clarke’s career in serious doubt due to persistent injury problems.
Cricket Australia (CA) named Smith vice captain but, with Clarke sidelined by injury for the foreseeable future, the 25-year-old will become the country’s 45th Test captain when Australia and India line up in Brisbane on Wednesday.
The 25 year old Smith was chosen Monday ahead of 37-year-old vice-captain Brad Haddin to take over from Clarke, who made a century in the first test at Adelaide but will likely miss the three remaining matches with back and hamstring injuries.
The captaincy was expected to go to Haddin, but the Australia selectors preferred Smith who has played just 23 tests but has previously captained New South Wales.
Only Ian Craig, who was 22 when he first appointed captain, and Kim Hughes, who was 25, have captained Australia at a younger age.
Smith will revert to the role of vice captain if Clarke returns. George Bailey remains captain of the Australia one-day side.
Smith has scored 1,749 test runs at an average of 46.02 since his debut in 2010. His unbeaten 162 in the first innings of the first test against India was his highest test score and his fifth century.
Smith is seen as a likely long term successor to Clarke and his sudden elevation may reflect uncertainty about Clarke’s long-term future.
Chairman of selectors Rod Marsh confirmed Monday that concern over the duration of Clarke’s possible absence from the Australia team had led to the appointment of Smith.
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