Brisbane: One of the youngest ever to take over as Australia’s Test captain, all-rounder Steve Smith on Monday said getting elevated to the position was an ‘amazing thrill’ even as he promised to be an aggressive and positive leader in the ongoing Test series against India.
Smith was named captain on Monday owing to regular skipper Michael Clarke’s injury breakdown during the first Test which the hosts won by 48 runs. “I am only a temporary solution at the moment since Michael is out injured unfortunately,” the 25-year-old Smith told reporters after his appointment.
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,” he said.
Smith, aged 25 years and 195 days, becomes Australia’s youngest Test captain since Kim Hughes took over the leadership in March 1979 at 25 years and 57 days. He is the third-youngest in Australian cricket history to get the job — behind Ian Craig who was just 22 when he took over in 1958.
The all-rounder, who smashed 162 not out in the first innings and was 52 not out in the second essay of the opening Test, became the 45th Test captain of the side. The second Test of the four-match series starts here on Wednesday.
“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,” Smith said.
“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,” he said.
The baby-faced youngster said he has got the full backing of Clarke, whose cricketing future has been thrown into jeopardy due to nagging hamstring and back injuries.
“I spoke with Michael this morning. He sent me a text and told me ‘give me a buzz when you are free’. I gave him a call and he is very proud of me. He is just really excited for me to lead Australia this week,” he said. 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,” he said.
Speaking about what he would bring to the table as 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.
Asked 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 started.”
“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,” he recalled.
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- Steve Smith