Australia’s Test captain, all-rounder Steve Smith who happens to be the youngest ever captain today said that getting elevated to the prestigious position has been an “amazing thrill”. He has promised to be an aggressive and positive leader in the ongoing Test series against India.
Smith got this opportunity due to Michael Clarke’s injury breakdown during the first Test. He said on his appointment “I am only a temporary solution at the moment since Michael is out injured unfortunately. It’s been a pretty whirlwind 18 months for me personally and for the team and for this to come up so quickly, it’s an amazing thrill, something that I guess I have always dreamt of doing.”
Smith is just 25 years and 195 days old who has become Australia’s youngest Test captain since Kim Hughes and Ian Craig. That way he is the third-youngest in Australian cricket history to get the job.
This talented all-rounder, who smashed 162 not out in the first innings and was 52 not out in the second innings of the opening Test, became the 45th Test captain of the side. Smith said “I have told the boys that I have no intentions of changing any plans. I think we have come a long way and we are playing some good cricket so we are going to continue with that aggressive and positive brand of cricket. When we cross the line, we are not friends with the opposition. It’s all about going out there and trying to win a cricket game and being as aggressive and positive as we can be. That’s something we have done really well recently and I have no intentions of changing the way we are going about our business.”
The baby-faced youngster emphasized “As a captain, first and foremost, I will try and lead from the front with my performance on the field. With regards to tactics, I think we have been pretty good this year. Pup (Clarke) has been amazing with what he has done, and I don’t really feel the need for any big change there,” Smith added. Smith also spoke of the support he has received from Vice-captain Brad Haddin, the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman, who was tipped to lead the team following Clarke’s injury. I am extremely close to Brad and when I told him yesterday that (national selection Panel Chairman) Rod (Marsh) had called me, he was over the moon for me and proud as punch. I am certainly looking to Brad out there as Michael always does. He is a terrific teammate and has got a great cricket brain too. He is someone on whom I can lean on out in the middle for sure”.
Speaking about what he would bring to the table in his role as a captain, Smith said even while being just a team member, he always tried to think like a leader. “Even when I am just a player on the field, I have my brain thinking as a captain all the time. I try to think what the situation needs and sometimes I throw some thoughts over to Michael and Brad and see where we go from there” he said.
Commenting about his evolution as a player, Smith said, “Patience is big word for me, I don’t try to hit every single ball like the way I did when I first stated. I have had a bit of leadership experience with New South Wales and the Sydney Sixers. In Sixers I had some older heads there with Brett Lee and Stuart MacGill and to lead those guys was a big thrill for me.”
Smith found the full backing from coach Darren Lehmann who had all the appreciations for him. Lehmann said “He has always had the qualities of leadership. He has led New South Wales and Sydney Sixers and he has led them well. And it is just now about being captain in state cricket, it is also about how he goes about with this group. How he gels with his team-mates and what he brings to the table. Obviously with a young leader like him, we are looking at the future and thinking long term. But we also need to play well in the short-term and need to play well here in Brisbane and in this current series.”
It appears that we will have a very interesting encounter among two young and aggressive captains.