They grow up so fast, don’t they?
If, as looks eminently possible, Michael Clarke misses the first Test against India, and Brad Haddin fails to return from a shoulder injury, Steven Peter Devereux Smith will, most likely, captain Australia in a Test match.
We remember people having a go at him when he was picked for the tour of India in 2013. Hell, we remember him being picked for the 2010/11 Ashes seemingly on account of the jokes he could tell in the dressing room. It couldn’t have been for his legspin anyway. It’s been a long journey. There’s been ups. There’s been downs. And a few people have been lost along the way. We even like to think that we all have learnt something over the journey. About not writing players off prematurely, and allowing everyone a second chance to redeem themselves.
There really isn’t all that much competition for the Test captaincy if the above does come to pass. In fact Devereux’s biggest threat is if the selectors decided to bring George Bailey back purely to captain the team. This would be a move that would really, really piss Ian Chappell off. In fact we would harbor serious concerns for his wellbeing if that were to happen; Chappelli would most likely implode on the spot upon hearing the news.
Otherwise the selectors don’t have many options. The only certain starters for Australia against India are Devereux, David Warner and Mitchell Johnson. Johnson is obviously out of the running, and we doubt the selectors would be that keen on making Warner captain. He once was considered the front runner for the position, but now…not so much.
All of the other options are slightly left of field. You couldn’t imagine the selectors turning to Shane Watson again. They tried that once before against India and it was a complete shambles. Best to just forget it ever happened. Another option is an interesting one though. Chris Rogers would make a pretty decent option for Test captain. He does the job for Middlesex and given we’re pretty sure he’s been playing cricket since those first milliseconds after the Big Bang, he knows a thing or two about the game. Plus there is just something about Rogers that makes us want to give him a big hug.
But you wouldn’t back the selectors to go that way, rather they’ll probably prefer making a statement about the future direction of the team by giving the gig to a youngster. Either that or pick Glenn Maxwell as a specialist captain. At any rate we suspect Brad Haddin will probably play, even if his shoulder is only connected to his body with sticky tape, and Devereux therefore might well be given the vice captaincy gig.
Would Devereux actually be a good captain though? Yeah, sure. Why not? He’s pretty bloody good at everything else. His captaincy when in charge of the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash, and New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield has been very good. Micheal Clarke-esque in that he is always changing things around, although without the latter’s penchant for inventing utterly ridiculous fielding positions on the fly just for the hell of it. Besides, against India it won’t really matter too much. All he needs to do is to ensure Mitchell Johnson is kept fresh and fear should keep the tourists in line. Fear of Mitchell Johnson.
On the whole though, it all feels a little too soon. Devereux probably isn’t quite ready for the top job just yet. Personally we would like to see him take it on a permanent basis after next years Ashes, and the selectors probably feel the same way. But if it does happen, oh, how we shall celebrate. We will be throwing the biggest 51allout party since that time we nicked all the money from Editor Steve’s wallet and bought as many discount bottles of sherry as our work experience boy could carry.