Domain Tests v Sri Lanka
Australia announce new vice-captains
Travis Head and Pat Cummins promoted to leadership positions for Sri Lanka series in the absence of Marsh and Hazlewood
22 January 2019, 07:33 PM AEST
Travis Head and Pat Cummins have been named co vice-captains for Australia's upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka, beginning Thursday in Brisbane.
Head, who has played Australia's past six Tests after debuting in the UAE in October, is South Australia's youngest-ever Sheffield Shield captain, while Cummins has quickly elevated himself as an integral and increasingly senior member of a Test side very much in flux.
The pair replaces the injured Josh Hazlewood, who is out of the series with a back injury, and Mitchell Marsh, who was dropped from the squad following a lean series against India.
"The Board of Cricket Australia has endorsed the National Selection Panel’s recommendation for Travis Head and Patrick Cummins to be appointed co-vice captains for the two Test matches against Sri Lanka," said selector Trevor Hohns.
"I'd like to congratulate Travis and Patrick on being named co-vice captains for the series, it is a fitting reward for their professionalism and dedication to drive the elite standards of the Australian men's Test team.
"Travis is an experienced state captain who has had a reasonable amount of success with South Australia and the Adelaide Strikers in the BBL.
"Travis was also Captain of the Australia A one-day team on their tour of India (last August-September).
"Travis was an impressive candidate when interviewed during the leadership identification process we conducted last year. He has also continued to develop his leadership qualities since joining the Australian men's Test team.
"Pat is a fine young man who displays strong leadership though his actions on and off the cricket field. He is also a well-respected and popular member of the dressing room, who consistently lives and demonstrates the team's values and standards.
"We also believe in having strong and even representation of both the batting and bowling groups, and Pat will provide important insights and knowledge when making decisions in the best interest of the team."
The selections of Cummins and Head – who have 24 Tests' experience between them – over more seasoned international players such as veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon and Queensland captain Usman Khawaja will doubtless stir more lively debate across the country, even as speculation continues as to the make-up of Australia's final XI for the day-night series opener at the Gabba.
The concept itself is still relatively new, having been introduced in head coach Justin Langer's first series in charge last October, against Pakistan in the UAE, and it was made clear at the time that those chosen in the roles were not necessarily the 'next in line' to assume the captaincy.
"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 explained.
"We believe the new leadership model will best support the captain. It is a successful model used across various sporting codes around the world."
Langer said at the time he had borrowed the idea from Aussie Rules, and the initial process began with a playing group poll, from which Hazlewood and Mitch Marsh were two of a number of players (along with Head, Alex Carey and Aaron Finch) selected to present to a panel featuring Langer, former Test captains Greg Chappell and Mark Taylor, CA Board chairman David Peever, high performance boss Pat Howard, selection chief Hohns and psychologist Dr Michael Lloyd.
"It comes from AFL footy, and we used it in West Australian cricket last year," Langer told cricket.com.au last September.
"I thought it was a really good idea, having spoken to some elite coaches like (former Australia hockey coach) Ric Charlesworth and (AFL premiership coach) Paul Roos about this whole concept of leadership over the last few years.
"Initially there was probably a little bit of resistance because it's not the way you usually do it in cricket.
"But we were in quite an unprecedented period, we have just lost the captain and vice-captain to suspension and leadership positions, or captaincy and vice-captaincy particularly probably came up when we weren't expecting it.
"So, I got a really good feel from the group and they voted."
Domain Test Series v Sri Lanka
Australia: Tim Paine (c/wk), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Will Pucovski, Matt Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Kusal Perera, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha
Jan 24-28: First Test, Gabba (D/N)
Feb 1-5: Second Test, Canberra