Clarke named vice-captain for West Indies tour
Michael Clarke's prospects of succeeding Ricky Ponting as Australia's next skipper were lifted when he was named as vice-captain for next month's tour of West Indies.
The 26-year-old Clarke has led Australia in Twenty20 internationals but the retirement of Adam Gilchrist allowed the selectors to begin grooming him for the top job.
"We have identified the need to look towards the future," Australia's chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said in a statement on Tuesday.
"While we had some very strong candidates within the current team, including those of the calibre of Michael Hussey, we had no hesitation in recommending Michael Clarke for the position.
"We were thrilled with his performances as captain during the two Twenty20 international games this summer and believe he has outstanding leadership credentials."
Clarke's promotion was just one of a number of significant changes in the 15-man test and 14-man one-day squads to tour the Caribbean.
Leg-spinner Stuart MacGill and middle-order batsmen Simon Katich were recalled, while three uncapped players, all-rounder Ashley Noffke, fast bowler Ben Hilfenhaus and spinner Beau Casson, made the test squad.
Hilditch said MacGill and Katich had demanded recalls through their impressive performances in the Australian first-class competition.
MacGill's hopes of securing a place in the test team after Shane Warne's retirement faltered last November when he needed wrist surgery.
"We have recalled Stuart MacGill after his recovery from injury. Stuart looked very fit during the (first-class) final and performed to a high level," Hilditch said.
"We have also taken the opportunity to take a young spinner and by far the best performed of these during the Australian summer has been Beau Casson."
Katich has not played for Australia since the 2005 Ashes tour but scored a record 1,506 first-class runs at an average of 94.12 last season.
"Since he has was omitted from the Australian side there is nothing more we could have asked Simon to do," Hilditch said.
Brad Haddin was named as wicketkeeper to replace Gilchrist and the one-day squad included several surprises.
David Hussey, Michael's younger brother, was chosen for his first tour after making the Twenty20 squad last summer and Shaun Marsh, son of former Australia opener Geoff Marsh, was also named in the squad.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)