Queensland have confirmed their high opinion of Chris Hartley, handing him the captaincy for Friday's Twenty20 match against New South Wales at Brisbane. The Bulls' skipper Jimmy Maher has been ruled out of the game after injuring his calf in the clash with Tasmania on Monday.
Hartley, 24, was given the nod ahead of more senior Queensland players such as Andy Bichel, Clinton Perren, James Hopes and Ashley Noffke. He will be the first wicketkeeper to lead the Bulls since the retirement of Ian Healy.
"I've spoken with Heals about keeping a lot over the years but captaincy hasn't really been part of it," Hartley said. He gained a taste for the leadership after taking over as captain in the field when Maher was off the ground injured on Monday.
"It actually helped my keeping a bit because I just told myself to switch on and catch the ball when the bowler was coming and that's all I thought about," Hartley said. "Once that ten seconds or so was gone, it was pretty hectic, worrying about field placings and over rates and the like."
Queensland beat Tasmania in their first game of the season but Hartley will have an even stronger line-up at his disposal with the return of Mitchell Johnson who has been released from his 12th man duties in the Sydney Test. Johnson replaces Maher in the Queensland squad, while New South Wales have named an unchanged 12.
Queensland squad James Hopes, Craig Philipson, Clinton Perren, Nathan Reardon, Michael Buchanan, Chris Simpson, Chris Hartley (capt, wk), Andy Bichel, Ashley Noffke, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Rimmington, Grant Sullivan.
New South Wales squad Phil Jaques, Ed Cowan, Brad Haddin (wk), Simon Katich (capt), Dominic Thornely, Daniel Christian, Aaron O'Brien, David Warner, Nathan Hauritz, Nathan Bracken, Scott Coyte, Tim Lang.