Australia have appointed Mitchell Marsh and Josh Hazlewood as Test vice-captains, thus rejigging their traditional leadership model in response to the Cape Town cheating scandal.
In the wake of the ball-tampering scandal, Australia lost the services of their star duo Steve Smith and David Warner along with newcomer Cameron Bancroft. Cricket Australia handed lengthy bans to the trio for their role in the scandal. While Smith and Warner received an one-year ban each, Bancroft received a nine-month ban.
Tim Paine then replaced Smith as the skipper. Australia are now gearing up to start a new era in Tests when they take on Pakistan in United Arabia Emirates. And the team from Down Under have now brought in a new leadership model as they look to rebuild their reputation.
Mitchell Marsh has always been seen as a captaincy material. The allrounder, who led Australia to Under-19 World Cup in 2012, leads Western Australia. Earlier this month, he led Australia A in India. However, Hazlewood’s name came as a surprise.
“We believe the new leadership model will best support the captain. It is a successful model used across various sporting codes around the world,” chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said.
“We see it benefiting the group. Not just from a tactical perspective but also to help drive the team’s values and standards on and off the field,” he added.
The appointment of Marsh and Josh Hazlewood came after a player vote and formal interview. Both the processes were new for Cricket Australia.
Hazlewood and Marsh presented to a panel that consisted of selectors Hohns and Greg Chappell, CA chairman David Peever, CA board member Mark Taylor, coach Justin Langer, team psychologist Michael Lloyd and CA high-performance boss Pat Howard.
The new process reflected CA’s desperation to improve team culture in the aftermath of the ball-tampering saga.
The new move is also likely to end the end the tension between the leaders of the team. Vice-captains have been traditionally seen as the captain-in-waiting. And appointing two deputies might do wonders for the team as far as the unity of the team is concerned.
“It was not a process designed to find the next Australian Test captain but to find two vice-captains who will support and help drive the team’s goals and objectives,” Hohns said.
“Josh and Mitch display great leadership qualities and we were extremely impressed by their passion and energy.”
Meanwhile. Marsh vowed he and Hazlewood would do everything they can to make Paine’s life easier.
“I’ve certainly grown as a leader in the last 12 months for Western Australia. I’ve found out a lot about myself, about leadership,” Marsh said.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to instil that on young guys coming through, what it is to be an Australian cricketer and what we stand for going forward,” he added.
Hazlewood, meanwhile, will miss the Test series against Pakistan because of a back injury. The series gets underway on October 7 in Dubai.