Australia news March 29, 2011

Ponting endorses Clarke as successor

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Ricky Ponting departed from the Australian captaincy with the warmest of endorsements for his heir-apparent Michael Clarke, and a concerted plea for the selectors to retain an ageing trio of Test batsmen.

Short of an extraordinary about-turn by Cricket Australia, 29-year-old Clarke will be named as captain of the team to tour Bangladesh, which will be announced on Wednesday, and Ponting will be on the brief trip as the senior pro.

His resignation was addressed with typical frankness in front of a vast assembly of media at the SCG, the same place Ponting's two Test captains, Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh, had announced their retirements.

Ponting has differed from them, and Allan Border, by deciding to go on as a player, but he had no hesitation whatsoever in pushing Clarke as the new leader.

"Absolutely, I totally think that's the way it will go, for the sheer fact that he's done a terrific job in almost every game that he's had the chance to captain for Australia, starting with the Twenty20 team - I thought he did a great job there," said Ponting.

"What he did with the one day team in my absence, not only through the summer but in other tours was absolutely first-class, and I think he's certainly growing into those leadership roles every day, so I would totally endorse Michael Clarke as the next captain."

Clarke was first among Ponting's list of players and coaches whom he contacted when he finally deciding to relinquish the captaincy, a decision he reached late on Monday night after two days of introspection following an unsuccessful World Cup defence.

"I think Michael was quite surprised at the decision I'd made; he actually said he'd wished he'd known this a little bit earlier so he might've been able to help out in a few different ways if he could've throughout the World Cup campaign," said Ponting.

"But I've had a really good chat to him and he's probably reasonably excited [about] the fact I'm doing what I'm doing today."

Excited but also intimidated by what lies ahead. Beyond Bangladesh sit series against Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand and India, only one of which this transitional Australian team would be widely expected to emerge from victorious. This schedule was chief among Ponting's thoughts when he chose the path of a swift resignation between tours.

Ponting was forthright in his belief that he, Michael Hussey and Simon Katich must be dealt with carefully over the next 12 months. Arguing that their experience was pivotal to the development of what has so far been a faltering next generation, Ponting also said care must be taken to ensure they do not all retire at once

"I felt the timing was absolutely perfect," he said. "When you think about what we've got coming up, we've got Bangladesh obviously, Sri Lanka will be a tough Test match tour for us and one-day tour for that matter, and so will South Africa, so I wanted to make sure the person coming in had as much time as they possibly could to get themselves prepared and get their direction and their focus on where they see the team going as much in place as possible.

"With the thinking I've had to do, the conversations I've had to have, the fact a Bangladesh touring squad is going to be announced tomorrow, I needed to get on top of it with the selectors; it's all been pretty rushed, but I'm very happy with the decision I've made and it will give the next captain a great opportunity to put his fingerprints on the Australian cricket team."

Ponting was forthright in his belief that he, Michael Hussey and Simon Katich must be dealt with carefully over the next 12 months. Arguing that their experience was pivotal to the development of what has so far been a faltering next generation, Ponting also said care must be taken to ensure they do not all retire at once.

"I think it's important for Australian cricket now that those guys are around," he said. "What I think you don't and you can't afford to ever have in a team is a mass exodus of all those sorts of players at once.

"I think we've seen that in the last couple of years when we had all the greats (Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Justin Langer) move at one time, it left us very bare and it's been hard for us to rebuild and get it back to where we want to as a result of that.

"So I think it's important the selectors take that on board [for] the next little period of time and make sure we don't have myself, Huss, Kato and those guys all leaving together because that would leave some incredibly big holes in the team."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cricket_theBestGame on March 30, 2011, 3:22 GMT

    it will be interesting to see how clarke goes when things get tough and wining becomes a problem. he has a good sportsman spirit but so did vetorri and we see after becoming captain how desparate he became. QF against S.A just last week anyone ! good luck clarke.

  • Meety on March 29, 2011, 23:55 GMT

    Tour Squad for Bangladesh (ODIs). 1. Watson, 2. Khawaja, 3. Clarke (c), 4. Ferguson, 5. D Hussey (vc), 6. Christian, 7. Wade/Paine/Neville, 8. Smith, 9. O'Keefe, 10. Richardson, 11. Pattinson, 12th Butterworth, 13th Faulkner, 14th Lyon. My preference would of been for Punter to retire from ODIs completely, either way I would not select him for this bi-lateral series V Bangladesh. We need to start planning for the future NOW! I'm a big fan of Copeland, but I don't think he is an ODI bowler. I think either the Tassie allrounders could slot in for Christian. I'd keep D Hussey as I think he could play in the 2015 W/Cup. No White, because he is WAY, WAY, WAY out of form & confidence. I wouldn't take Lee because, whilst he probably won' be around in 2015, he needs to be kept for more important series in the future. MJ has played almost non-stop for 2 yrs, & doesn't need to go. Wary of sending an understrength side to Bangladesh as they have some good form on home soil.

  • DrDamo on March 29, 2011, 14:45 GMT

    I really hope Clarke does not become captain. I still don't understand with his recent form or lack there of still has a place in the Australian side. I know he is getting on in age but Katich for captain.

  • dummy4fb on March 29, 2011, 14:35 GMT

    well, he has achieved enough.

  • kentjones on March 29, 2011, 13:26 GMT

    Ricky Ponting did an excellent job as captain of Australia. He certainly contributed to building the tremendous reputation of Australia as a team of the highest order. We must celebrate the class of the man. All the best to you Mr. Ponting!!

  • popcorn on March 29, 2011, 11:19 GMT

    Ponting's 48 wins as Test captain will nEVER be emulated by ANY captain - world over.He was the greatest.

  • dummy4fb on March 29, 2011, 11:09 GMT

    Great player. Hope he rediscovers his form with the bat because he is absolutely devastating when on song. But not against England please!

  • Mike_184 on March 29, 2011, 10:47 GMT

    i love punter. he was an amazing captain and still is a great player

  • roo123 on March 29, 2011, 10:21 GMT

    SLfan take off your blinkers, every great team has their flaws highlighted because their wins keep them in the spotlight. The other teams are not as interesting to the media/public.

  • dummy4fb on March 29, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    i am so sad that ricky has resign as captain of australia he was a fantasting captain as well as player and best of luck for his future

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