Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Rhodes Recalls Spell At Worcs Of New Aussie Captain Smith

Rhodes Recalls Spell At Worcs Of New Aussie Captain Smith

Worcestershire Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes has recalled the short spell at New Road of Steve Smith who has been named Australia's Test captain for the remainder of the series against India.

Smith, who played T20 cricket for the county in 2010, has replaced Michael Clarke who will miss the remainder of the series with a torn hamstring.

He will become the third youngest Australian Test captain in history at 25 years and 197 days, behind Ian Craig (22 years and 194 days) and Kim Hughes (25 years and 57 days).

Smith has captained New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield and the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League.

The all-rounder was signed up for five games in the short format of the game for Worcestershire four years ago before going onto make his Test debut that summer.

Rhodes said: "It was a short spell Steve had with us and he was a very young player and it was only for the Twenty20 format for a few games.

"It was difficult to form any assessments. The one thing you would say is he had certainly got the ability to be anything really.

"He was a very talented young man and at some stage down the line you felt there was something good was going to come about with it.

"He is a very young captain of Australia and they obviously see him as the interim captain and someone who would benefit from the experience of doing it in the absence of Clarke.

"I'm pretty sure as soon as they get Clarke back fit, he will be taking over again but they see it as an ideal opportunity to blood a young captain.

"Good luck to him and we wish him well as a former Worcestershire player."

Smith said: "As a captain, I think first and foremost I'll try to lead from the front with my performance on the field.

"And as regards to tactics and everything, I think we've been pretty good this year. Pup's (Clarke's) been amazing with what he's done. I don't feel there's any real need for a big change there.

"I've had a bit of leadership experience with NSW and the Sydney Sixers. I know at the Sixers I had some older heads there.

"To lead those guys, it was a big thrill for me."

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.

"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."

Smith has scored 779 runs from 13 Test innings during 2014 at an average of 77.90 and overall has scored 1,749 Test runs at an average of 46.03.

He made his debut against Pakistan in a Test played at Lord's shortly after ending his spell at New Road in July 2010.