Sydney: Paceman Josh Hazlewood and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh were named joint vice-captains of the Australian Test team on Thursday under a new leadership structure installed in the wake of this year's ball-tampering scandal.
Hazlewood and Marsh will support captain Tim Paine and be the permanent replacements for David Warner, who was stripped of the post and banned from international and state cricket for 12 months for his role in the incident in South Africa.
Previous captain Steve Smith was also banned for a year, while batsman Cameron Bancroft was suspended for nine months for trying to alter the condition of the ball during the third Test against the Proteas in Cape Town in March.
"We are extremely fortunate to have such terrific young men charged with the responsibility of upholding the high standards and values we and Australian cricket fans expect of their Test team," chief selector Trevor Hohns said in a news release.
"Josh has shown he is a leader among the playing group, and we felt it was important to have a representative from the bowling group. He’s calm under pressure, communicates well and leads by example on and off the field.
"He is an extremely popular member of the team, he has great humility, and given his lineage, he understands and respects the responsibility which comes with representing Australia and Australians."
Marsh's father Geoff played 50 Tests for Australia and was a Test selector, while his batsman brother Shaun is a regular Test player who was included in the squad for next month's Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
"I want to be the best person, the best Australian cricketer and leader that I can be for this group and the whole organisation," Marsh told cricket.com.au. "That's something we want every single cricketer to be in the Australian cricket team, hopefully I'll be able to instill that on young guys coming through, what it is to be an Australian cricketer and what we stand for going forward. That's my goal.
"I've certainly grown as a leader in the last 12 months for Western Australia. I've found out a lot about myself, about the leadership. I absolutely love captaining Western Australia.
"I think my biggest strength is that it hasn't changed me as a person and I certainly don't see the vice-captaincy changing me as a person. I'll be that same guy around the team, it's got me to this position and I think that's important – that's leadership in my opinion."
Hazlewood will miss the trip to the Gulf of Arabia because of injury but is certain to return for the home series against India and Sri Lanka later this year and early next.
"It's a pretty cool story - we started playing against each other for WA and New South Wales when we were Under-15s, played Under-15s for Australia together and all through the junior process and now we're here,” said Marsh.
"Josh is just an honest country guy. He's extremely professional in the way he goes about it, he's a great player, he's a great bowler and he's a great Australian. He'll be fantastic in this role."
Meanwhile, Hazlewood said he is happy to be the vice-captain but has no intentions of leading Australia full-time. “Mitch has done a lot of captaincy in the past for Western Australia, and even through the junior levels. I wouldn't mind filling in for a session or two here and there, but I think it's tough on a quick to be full-time captain,” he said.
“I might stay in the ring and talk to the bowlers, and be that link that maybe could have been better in the past between the bowling group and the captain – to really help facilitate that and get that in a good position.
“It's probably no secret that the relationships between captain and vice-captain haven't been great in the last 10 or 12 years. So maybe having someone as vice-captain who's not necessarily aspiring to be captain, that's the position that I find myself in and I can really contribute as a leader and a vice-captain without ever really pushing that next level. Then Mitch and myself can do everything we can to make Painey's job as easy as possible."
Marsh has sometimes been a divisive figure among Australian cricket fans and his disciplinary record is not unblemished, his most recent indiscretion coming when he was fined for using offensive language during the second Test against South Africa.
A former captain of Australia A, the Australia under-19s and Western Australia, Marsh is, however, a popular figure among the players and has been tipped as a future Test captain by several luminaries of the game.