LANCASHIRE County Cricket Club have announced all-rounder Tom Smith as their new captain ahead of the 2015 season.

The 29-year-old, who came through the Red Rose academy prior to his senior debut in 2005, will now become part of the backroom staff and combine coaching with his playing duties.

He replaces Glen Chapple who stepped down last October having held the position for five years.

Meanwhile, it has also been confirmed that fellow all-rounder Steven Croft will be vice-captain.

Smith, the club’s player of the year for 2014, has been chosen for the role by head coach Ashley Giles ahead of former Test players Ashwell Prince and Alviro Petersen.

He told the club’s official website: “It is a tremendous honour for me to be appointed captain of the county I grew up supporting and have been lucky enough to play for.

“I cannot wait to get started as captain and I would like to thank the Club for putting their faith in me for this very important and responsible role.”

On his decision to appoint Lancastrian Smith as captain, Giles added: “Tom has all the right ingredients of a good leader. He is well-respected, he plays all forms of the game, is a good professional, extremely mature and a good communicator.

“He is a guy who has come through the Lancashire system and knows exactly what it means to play for such a great county.”

The Chorley-based player’s impressive performances brought optimism during a disappointing campaign for the Emirates Old Trafford outfit last year.

He took 54 County Championship wickets and scored 773 runs, including seven half centuries, while earning an England Lions call-up but missed out on a place on the winter tour to Sri Lanka.

Speaking to Quays News reporter Callum Matthews back in December, Smith described last season as his “best season since he began” and insisted he would never give up playing for his country.

The recently-married Smith, who was born in Liverpool, has spent his whole senior career with the Red Rose after earning a scholarship deal a decade ago.

Having progressed through the ranks, he was been a near ever-present for the club and was part of the squad which won the Division One County Championship title in 2011.

Lancashire, who were relegated from Division One of the County Championship last year, will launch their 2015 Division Two campaign against Derbyshire on April 19.

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