Steve Smith to lead Australia in Clarke's absence

Steve Smith to lead Australia in Clarke's absence

Young all-rounder Steve Smith was today named Australia's captain for the second cricket Test against India, replacing an injury-ravaged Michael Clarke who is unlikely to play in the remaining matches of the ongoing series.

"Cricket Australia has announced that Steven Smith has been appointed vice-captain of the Australian Test team effective immediately and will captain the Australian side in the absence of Michael Clarke," CA said in a statement.

The 25-year-old, who smashed 162 not out in the first innings and was 52 not out in the second essay of the opening Test which Australia won by 48 runs, thus became the 45th Test captain of the side and one of the youngest ever to take up the role.

"Clarke is expected to miss the remainder of the Commonwealth Bank Test Series against India due to an injured right hamstring," the CA said.

Current vice-captain Brad Haddin, who led the Australian side on the final day of the Adelaide Test, will serve as Smith's deputy in Brisbane.

The appointment was recommended by CA's National Selection Panel and was endorsed by CA's Board of Directors last night.

When Clarke returns to the side he will do so as captain with Smith serving as deputy.

"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," National Selector Rod Marsh said.

"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. He is an exceptional young man who is highly regarded by the National Selection Panel not only for his fine performances with the bat but also his maturity and clear leadership potential," he added.

Explaining the reasons behind not opting for Haddin, Marsh said, "Brad Haddin has 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."

Commenting on the announcement, CA Chairman Wally Edwards said: "The Board fully endorsed the recommendation put forward by the selectors. Steve is an impressive young leader who deserves high praise for his temperament and on-field performances to date. We believe he will do an excellent job when given the chance to captain his country against India."

Australia lead India 1-0 in the four-match series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The second Test starts at the Gabba in here on Wednesday.

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