Pat Cummins, Travis Head promoted to Australia’s Test vice-captaincy
Cheers, mate: Travis Head and Pat Cummins have been promoted to leadership positions. © AFP

The pair of fast bowler Pat Cummins and batsman Travis Head have been elevated to the roles of joint vice-captains of Australia for the two-Test series versus Sri Lanka, taking the place of the injured Josh Hazlewood and axed Mitchell Marsh.

Cummins, 25, has featured in 18 Tests and was the stand-out performer for Australia during the recent Test series defeat to India. Head, 25, has played just six Tests.

Hazlewood suffered a back injury last week, while Marsh was dropped after a lean run of form.

“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,” said the chief selector Trevor Hohns on Tuesday. “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.” (ALSO READ: Inspired by India’s bowlers, Sri Lanka target maiden Test victory in Australia)

Head, already South Australia’s youngest-ever skipper, finished the India series as Australia’s second-highest run-getter with 237 from seven innings at an average of 33.85. He scored two fifties, the joint most with Marcus Harris who made 258 runs. (ALSO READ: Justin Langer calls on batsmen to step up against Sri Lanka)

“Travis is an experienced state captain who has had a reasonable amount of success with South Australia and the Adelaide Strikers in the BBL,” said Hohns. “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.”

Cummins claimed 14 wickets in the series and repeatedly bailed out the hosts with his dour lower-order batting. He averaged 23.28 in the series, with a best of 63.

“Pat is a fine young man who displays strong leadership though his actions on and off the cricket field,” said Hohns. “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.”

The move to name joint vice-captains was taken under head coach Justin Langer before the series with Pakistan in the UAE. At the time, Hazlewood and Marsh had been chosen.

The first Test is in Brisbane from Thursday, in what is Sri Lanka’s first with the pink ball.