Australia, Meet Your New Test Cricket Vice-Captains
Six-and-a-bit months ago, before the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, the odds of this would have been a million to one.
But today, Cricket Australia announced that Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Marsh had been named as joint vice-captains of the Australian Test side, after what it called "a lengthy process".
Australia has never had joint vice-captains. But with former captain Steve Smith and former vice-captain David Warner serving their 12 month bans from international cricket, and with new captain Tim Paine still finding his way as a leader on the international stage, there was no stand-out candidate for second-in-charge.
Cricket Australia reported that after a poll among the players, Hazlewood and Marsh were two of a group who were selected to present to a panel featuring Australian coach Justin Langer and other senior CA figures.
The National Selection Panel then made their recommendations to the CA Board, which ratified the appointments.
For 26-year-old Marsh in particular, this is a huge leap forward. This time last year, the West Australian native was a player with a modest record whose Test future was extremely clouded to say the least, before two Ashes centuries locked down his spot.
I'm very proud," Marsh told cricket.com.au.
"We've been through this process over the last couple of months as a team and to have my teammates vote me in and myself into this position, I'm very proud. Hopefully I'll do the job justice."
Tamworth native Hazlewood has been more of an automatic selection for Australian teams in recent years, with his Glenn McGrath-like line and length, and wicket-taking prowess.
All the same, he is just the third Australian paceman to hold such high office within the team, as selectors traditionally opt for batsmen, who are seen as less prone to missing matches through injury.
Interestingly, though separated by the length of a continent, the two have been playing cricket together or against each other since their school years.
The Australian Test side is about to take on Pakistan in a two-Test series in the UAE, staring October 7. Ironically, Hazlewood is missing the series through injury, meaning Mitch Marsh will get to boss big brother Shaun -- and other players -- around in sole consultation with the skipper.