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17 Dec

Hazlewood, Marsh share Test vice-captaincy

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Josh Hazlewood’s lack of captaincy aspirations has helped him snag a promotion, with the paceman and Mitch Marsh to share Test vice-captaincy duties for .
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The appointment of Marsh and Hazlewood came after a player vote and formal interview, both of which were unprecedented measures from Cricket (CA).

The duo will help launch n cricket’s new era under Tim Paine, although Hazlewood will miss next month’s two-Test series against Pakistan because of a back injury.

Hazlewood also admitted on Thursday that Marsh is likely to lead the XI this summer should Paine be unavailable.

David Warner was stripped of the vice-captaincy and barred from ever holding a leadership post as part of the sanctions CA handed down six months ago in South Africa.

Hazlewood, Marsh and the uncapped trio of Aaron Finch, Travis Head and Alex Carey were shortlisted after a player vote.

The candidates presented to a panel that consisted of selectors Trevor Hohns and Greg Chappell, CA chairman David Peever, CA board member Mark Taylor, coach Justin Langer, team psychologist Michael Lloyd and CA high-performance boss Pat Howard.

The break with tradition reflected CA’s desperation to improve team culture in the aftermath of the Cape Town cheating scandal.

The rethink was also caused by the fact the Test vice-captaincy has previously come with the unofficial title of captain-in-waiting, creating unwanted friction and few seamless successions.

“It’s no secret the relationships between captain and vice-captain haven’t been great in the last 10 or 12 years,” Hazlewood told reporters in Sydney.

“With no aspirations to be captain I can have a really good relationship there. Mitch and myself can do everything we can to make Tim’s job as easy as possible.

“I can really contribute as a leader and a vice-captain without ever pushing that next level.

“I might stay in the ring and talk to the bowler, be that link that could have been better in the past between that bowling group and the captain.”

Hazlewood and Marsh are confident their partnership will work well.

“It’s obviously different but it’s odd times,” Hazlewood said.

Marsh pointed to the fact they’ve known each other for over 10 years.

“It’s a pretty cool story. We started playing against each other, for WA and NSW, when we were in the under-15s,” the allrounder said.

“Josh is an honest country guy and extremely professional.”

Leadership group, a concept ubiquitous in football in which several players share the burden, has now become part of CA’s parlance.

New coach Justin Langer, who sits on the board of AFL club West Coast, has introduced the change. It has the full backing of chairman of selectors Hohns.

“It is a successful model used across various sporting codes around the world,” Hohns said.

“We see it benefiting the group. Not just from a tactical perspective but also to help drive the team’s values and standards on and off the field.

“It was not a process designed to find the next n Test captain but to find two vice-captains.”

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