Steve Smith ready for furnace of Test captaincy after following in footsteps of Michael Clarke

23rd October 2015

IN recent months, the two most important jobs in Australia have been filled. Malcolm Turnbull has become the new Prime Minister and Steve Smith has become the Australian Test captain.

The man who made his Test debut as a legspinner batting at No. 8 has huge boots to fill in replacing Michael Clarke.

While Clarke wasn't always admired by the Australian public, his attacking instinct and ability to lead the team through Phillip Hughes' death was admirable.

Although Smith first made his name in T20 cricket, he is a captain in the old school mould.

Having grown up watching Steve Waugh and starting his career under Ricky Ponting, Smith's three matches in charge have looked more similar to the era gone by.

Smith's captaincy was criticised by many pundits after last year's Boxing Day Test against India ended in a draw. Instead of risking the series lead, Smith chose to make sure the team couldn't lose before attempting to win the game.

The criticism didn't faze the 26-year-old. In preparation of what would have been the New South Welshman's first tour as permanent captain, Smith said he was prepared to bore Bangladeshi batsmen out if necessary.

While Clarke's brand of cricket was exciting to watch, it had the opposition licking their lips, especially when the match was played outside of Australia. Under Clarke, Australia lost 12 of 26 matches away from home.

In his three Tests as captain, Smith's batting has been phenomenal, with a Bradman-esque average of 96. While it is unlikely for this number to stay at these heights forever, his lead-from-the-front attitude with the bat is reminiscent of Ponting. With inexperienced batsmen around him, the unorthodox right-hander's performances with the bat will be integral to Australia's summer.

With excerpts from:http://www.foxsports.com.au/the-crowd/steve-smith-ready-for-furnace-of-test-captaincy-after-following-in-footsteps-of-michael-clarke/story-fnvoi4su-1227580310437

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