Steve Smith has become full fledged captain of Australia as Michael Clarke announced his retirement after losing the Ashes to arch rival England. Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland confirmed the 26 year old Smith in the job on Sunday.
Clarke, who is considered as the last of the golden generation, announced his retirement after England’s innings and 78 run win in the fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge on Saturday to regain the Ashes 3-1 in the five match Ashes, one match yet to happen.
The maverick batsman Clarke will lead Australia one more team in Test at The Oval in south London on August 20.
Smith has already shown his cricket intelligence when he had to lead Australia during the four match Test series as Clarke had undergone a surgery to get rid of hamstring injury to get fit for the World Cup. Smith had scored centuries in all three Tests as skipper and won the series.
Smith’s first Tests as full-time captain are set to be during a two-match series in Bangladesh in October, which comes ahead of a home three-Test series with New Zealand.
England coach Trevor Bayliss, who helps Smith to develop to be a world class batsman, gave Smith taste of senior leadership responsibility when he made him captain of the Sydney Sixers in the T20 tournament-Big Bash League.
“He’s shown it already in Test cricket earlier this year,” said Bayliss of Smith’s aptitude for Test leadership. “He’s a very proactive type of captain.
“I think he’ll do a fantastic job, and certainly has the respect of the rest of his team-mates.
“They know he is one hell of a player, and a very good captain.”
Meanwhile, Australia coach Darren Lehmann also welcomes Steve Smith as captain. He siad that he has no fears that captaincy would damage Smith’s batting.
“It improved Michael’s batting and hopefully it’s the same for Steven, he’s a good player,” Lehmann said. “It’ll be a smooth transition.”
Former Australia batsman Lehmann takes the traditional view that a captain, rather than a coach, should be the key man in leading the team but said he was happy to divide up responsibility in whatever way best suited Smith.
“It’s really a case of how he wants to play,” explained Lehmann.
“He’ll be aggressive, as all Australian captains have been. But I think he’ll work out what works for him on and off the field the best.”