Australia stop short of naming 10 vice-captains

Pat Cummins Travis Head Australia vice-captains

To lose one vice-captain may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.

With Josh Hazlewood ruled out through injury and Mitch Marsh ruled out through being Mitch Marsh, Australia suddenly found themselves fresh out of vice-captains for the Test series against Sri Lanka.

Clearly, this would not do, and steps have now been taken. Two more vice-captains will step bravely into the breach. For Pat Cummins, a deserved promotion after firmly establishing himself as a senior player with both bat and ball. For Travis Head, a promotion.

Head has captaincy experience from the Sheffield Shield, but his selection ahead of more senior and – importantly, given what happened to Marsh – established pros such as Usman Khawaja and Nathan Lyon is an eyebrow-raiser.

Then, of course, there’s the question of whether one even needs an official vice-captain, less still a pair of vice-captains. It’s a Justin Langer thing, borrowed from Aussie Rules and introduced in his first series against Pakistan in October, and is all about supporting the captain rather than necessarily identifying a possible replacement or next in line.

“It was not a process designed to find the next Australian Test Captain,” said selector Trevor Hohns, “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 wound the world.

“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.

“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.”