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Smith new Aussie captain


Smith new Aussie captain

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SYDNEY (AP) – Steven Smith will become Australia’s 45th Test captain and its third youngest when he steps in for the injured Michael Clarke against India in the second cricket Test at Brisbane starting Wednesday.

The 25-year-old Smith was chosen today ahead of 37-year-old vice-captain Brad Haddin to take over from Clarke, who made a century in the first Test at Adelaide but will likely miss the three remaining matches with back and hamstring injuries.

The captaincy was expected to go to Haddin, but the Australia selectors preferred Smith who has played just 23 Tests but has previously captained New South Wales.

Only Ian Craig, who was 22 when he first appointed captain, and Kim Hughes, who was 25, have captained Australia at a younger age.

Smith will revert to the role of vice-captain if Clarke returns. George Bailey remains captain of the Australia One-Day side.

Smith has scored 1 749 Test runs at an average of 46.02 since his debut in 2010. His unbeaten 162 in the first innings of the first Test against India was his highest Test score and his fifth century.

He has cemented his place in the Australia batting lineup since his recall after its disastrous series against India last year. In his 18 Tests since the India tour, Smith has scored 1 490 runs at an average of 51.

Smith is seen as a likely long-term successor to Clarke and his sudden elevation may reflect uncertainty about Clarke’s long-term future.

Clarke told reporters at the end of the first Test Saturday that he fears his career may be over because of his frustrating battle with a degenerative back condition and the regular hamstring injuries that has caused.