Travis Head named vice-captain ahead of first Test against Pakistan

Travis Head, Australia’s standout performer in recent victories in the World Test Championship final and the ODI World Cup 2023 final, has been formally appointed as co-vice-captain of the Australian Test team alongside Steven Smith. Current captain, Pat Cummins, expressed confidence in Head’s potential as a future Test leader, emphasising the need to fortify the leadership core in Australian cricket.

The announcement, made just ahead of the first Test against Pakistan in Perth, marks the 29-year-old’s inclusion into Australia’s leadership cadre. Cummins also disclosed the team lineup, confirming Nathan Lyon’s return from injury as the solitary change from their previous Test match in July against England at The Oval. Lyon replaces Todd Murphy as the sole spinner in the XI.

“Really excited to have Trav on board as the co-vice-captain. He’s been playing for a long time. He’s always been a leader in our group. So we thought it was a good time to formally recognise that. Whilst nothing’s imminent, Steve’s not going to play forever. I daresay I’m not going to captain forever. So we feel like we’ve got some responsibility to future-proof the team and start trying to give opportunities to other leaders,” Cummins said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.

“I think the personality that he brings to the team is something that we all love. And I think you see it in the way he plays his cricket. There’s a certain amount of freedom to it. He takes the game on. He enjoys it. He’s always got a smile on his face,” he added.

Head had previously held vice-captaincy reign in 2018

Smith retains his role as the senior vice-captain, positioned as the primary option to deputise for Cummins when necessary. Notably, the right-handed batter had previously led Australia in 34 Test matches between 2014 and 2018 and had filled in for Cummins in four Test matches over the past two years during the latters absence due to various reasons.

Head had previously served as co-vice-captain alongside Cummins during Tim Paine’s captaincy tenure. The duo took over as Paine’s deputies in February 2019, succeeding Mitchell Marsh and Josh Hazlewood, who were initially appointed as co-vice-captains in October 2018 post the aftermath of the sandpaper scandal.