Australia have for the first time named two Test cricket vice-captains — all-rounder Mitchell Marsh and fast bowler Josh Hazlewood — as they look to move on from a major cheating scandal.
The pair were chosen to back up captain Tim Paine via an unprecedented vote by team members and a final decision made by a panel that included coach Justin Langer and selector Trevor Hohns, Cricket Australia said.
“We believe the new leadership model will best support the captain,” Hohns said of the decision to have more than one Test vice-captain for the first time.
“It is a successful model used across various sporting codes around the world.
“Our vision is to create great cricketers and great people, and we are extremely fortunate to have such terrific young men,” Hohns said.
Marsh, aged 26, will act as sole vice-captain behind Paine during the two-Test series against Pakistan in Dubai beginning on October 7 because Hazlewood, aged 27, is sidelined by injury.
It will be Australia’s first Test tour since the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town which led to one-year suspensions being imposed on captain Steve Smith and his deputy, David Warner, who was also banned from ever holding another leadership position.
Hohns indicated the decision to name vice-captains was in part to avoid naming a single person being seen as a likely successor to Paine, who took over from Smith following the scandal when sandpaper was used to alter the condition of the ball.
“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,” he said.
Since the South Africa debacle, Cricket Australia has launched a number of internal reviews aimed at creating a more respectful culture and moving away from the win-at-all-costs mentality blamed for the explosive ball-tampering row.