Australian news April 18, 2011

Clarke seeks respect, within and without

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Michael Clarke is happy to admit he will not be completely respected as Australia's captain, within the team and without, until he can bolster his position with vital runs and major victories.

Important runs and series wins were ever present in the first part of Ricky Ponting's captaincy, but his power base began to erode from the moment the supplies of each began to thin, culminating in resignation from his post after failed Ashes and World Cup campaigns. Clarke began his tenure with a handsome enough ODI series win over Bangladesh. But he knows greater battles, and the presence he can gain by how he fights them, are yet to arrive.

"I certainly feel like I've got the support and respect as a player because I've played a lot of international cricket. For me it's about now gaining that respect as a captain and a leader and I guess the first and foremost way to do that is to have some success on the field, to get some wins," Clarke told ESPNcricinfo before his return home from Dhaka.

"Now is an opportunity for me to get home and have a really good think about what's happened over the last 12 months and where I see this team going over the next 12-24 months, and how we can set some goals and have some targets we try to achieve.

"I don't really know how the players feel, I guess they'd be happy because we got the result [in Bangladesh], we won and for me I didn't want to change too many things straight away, it was about coming here, training hard, preparing well and playing some good cricket on the filed. Now I've got this time to assess things, speak to the right people and get some guidance and some help, and assess where we're at."

Clarke's own batting is vital to the success of his leadership, and on the evidence of the summer's Ashes series he has much work to do. England's relentless line of attack around off stump left Clarke either fishing or floundering, and after nine Test matches at No.4 his average is a sick-looking 21.58, with only two half centuries.

There remains an observation of Clarke, common among former players, that his batting has lacked the knack for spinal innings in the vein of a Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh, Mark Taylor or Allan Border. He has played some attractive and determined knocks, sure, but a gap exists in his CV when it comes to match and series-defining scores. In that sense Clarke's most memorable effort remains the 151 made on his Test debut against India at Bangalore in 2004, something he must transcend as captain.

"I think it is important to lead from the front no doubt," Clarke said. "Probably one of the things Ricky has taught me is that as a leader, as a senior player and certainly as the captain, you need to be standing up with the bat as a batsman, you need to be scoring runs. For me that's a big part of this team going forward, I'm now the captain and I want to stand up and make sure I'm leading from the front."

"One of the things Ricky has taught me is that as a leader, as a senior player and certainly as the captain, you need to be standing up with the bat as a batsman, you need to be scoring runs."
Michael Clarke knows he must bolster his captaincy with runs

In the field, one of Clarke's greatest tasks will be to oversee the emergence of a penetrative and balanced Australian Test attack, following the ignominy of being made to look popgun on home soil during the Ashes. Key here will be his handling of spin bowlers, a constant source of weakness since Shane Warne retired.

"The one thing we need to continue to remember though is we're never going to get another Shane Warne. He's one of a kind and I think as the Australian public and the expectation we have with our spin bowlers, things have changed," said Clarke of a stable including Steve Smith, Michael Beer, Xavier Doherty, Jason Krejza and Nathan Hauritz.

"We certainly haven't got Warney, we've moved from that, but I do believe spin bowling will play a huge part in Australian cricket's success going forward, it's just about using them the right way, supporting them and getting the most out of what they do.

"Hopefully I can set some good fields and show them good faith and support them as much as I possibly can. We've got a good mix of talent in the spin area to do a job. Again, they're not Warney, but I think they can have a lot of success in international cricket."

The Australian team will reconvene in July for a pre-season camp at Coolum in Queensland, ahead of Test and limited-overs tours to Sri Lanka and South Africa.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Something_Witty on April 20, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    Well said Biggus. *Stands and applauds*

  • Biggus on April 20, 2011, 10:08 GMT

    @5wombats-Glad to see you've woken up mate. I was beginning to think there were no fish here at all. Just having some fun. "Self-loathing hand wringing not a winning strategy?". How terribly bolshy! Standards everywhere are in decline!

  • 5wombats on April 20, 2011, 8:26 GMT

    @Biggus; ha ha! Self-loathing and handwringing went out of fashion in England in about 1998 as it was seen not to be a winning strategy. Now it's someone elses' turn - @Meety by the look of it. But seriously; I just got back from Sydney and have a lot of mates there. They'll all convinced that Clarke is the only choice. There seems to be a lot of confusion about what has happened to Australia in the past 2 years seen in newspapers, bar chat, etc. The position seems to be that Clarke is a bit of a glamour boy and when the expectation on him is cranked up he finds it hard to perform. This had better not be true! Yes - previous results are history - but you have to learn from history otherwise you end up making the same mistakes. Clarkes biggest challenge is to learn the lessons and then bring on Australias next generation, something the previous incumbant evidently failed to do. I like Clarke and I think he can do it. I genuinely wish him well.

  • Biggus on April 20, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    All this rehashing of the Ashes is a bit redundant. I can understand England fans wanting to do so, after all it's the most wonderful thing that's happened to their team for many a year-the apparent end of a long, long winter of discontent, but their erratic display in the world cup has posed some questions as to what we are witnessing. A great England resurgence or just a wild, uninhibited 'Summer of Love' down under? I wouldn't be quite so sanguine if I were an MCC fan. They played like champs and we like mugs, but I can't see us going 23 years before we win another series in England. The dominant win is now the least of England's concerns, as they must now show it wasn't a flash in the pan. Don't waste too much time crowing over our troubles guys. We'll be back, and sooner than our opponents would wish, then our MCC friends can revert to the self-loathing hand wringing that has always been so endearing.

  • Wozza-CY on April 20, 2011, 1:19 GMT

    @5wombats- Nothing new about Oz losing in India, 2-1 in England was a close series, vs Pak in Eng, no history on that one! The 3-1 recent Ashes series was a hiding & ozzies are the first to admit that & also that we were totally outplayed. There were a lot contributing factors to that drubbing, Eng were responsible for a lot of that with their preparation & play. The slide you point out is 'undeniable' (that's the destination south of 'Denial') & @landl47 Clarke prob doesn't have the players to reach heights of Oz cricket in the past decade, but I'm not sure most Aussie fans expect that. With the right selections, change in attitude & some 'form' Oz teams should do much better than recent efforts. Pontings career Avg is 53 & in the last Ashes is was 16. So is that poor form or is he just rubbish? Clarke avg is 46 & in that series is was 21. To contrast this Trott, Peitersen & Cook were all above their career averages in the recent ashes, proving they were in good 'form'.

  • Meety on April 20, 2011, 0:12 GMT

    So when its all said & done, the Ashes are yesterdays news. The only series that matters to me at the moment is the SL series in August. It will be interesting to see if Malinga plays ALL 3 tests. No Vaas no Murali, new captain for SL, they are beatable. Oz have plenty of untried players that NEED to be on that tour, guys like Copeland, Butterworth, & O'Keefe. The real test of whether the Shield comp is in decline we will be in how the newer players perform. Much brighter immediate future then Vacant slips, wombats, Maddys & ivan lendls think!

  • Meety on April 20, 2011, 0:06 GMT

    (Cont) - For the immediate future an Oz side that contains Watto, Punter, Pup & Hussey, with Haddin @7, is as good/comparable as any top 7 in the world. Oz have 2 spinners who were/are better then the 2 that were used this summer. Hauritz actually outbowled Swann in the 2009 Ashes taking more wickets in a head to head with Swann over the first 3 Tests. O'Keefe has a World Class 1st class ave of 24, & takes almost 4 wickets a match, he was overlooked for players with averages over 40. O'Keefe or Hauritz or both would not of won the Ashes for Oz, but the difference would of been dramatically reduced. The difference between Oz & England is NOT as big as people think. Whilst the Oz side is nowhere near as strong as say 2007/08, not many sides can say that either. Sth Africa, Oz, NZ, Pakis are not as strong as 2 or 3 yrs ago, SL will drop soon without the Murali factor, England are the only side to have improved in this period, & COULD continue. India are on the verge of a BIG fall! TBC

  • Meety on April 19, 2011, 23:49 GMT

    (cont) - Cook was ALMOST dropped prior to the Ashes, a scratchy ton against the Bangas saved him. He then comes to Oz & does then better then ANYBODYS wildest dreams. The questions are - Is Cook on the verge of plundering the world like Bradman? or Was his Ozzy summer a freak alignment of the cricketing Gods producing a near perfect summer? I thought Trott was brilliant, is he going to continue on in that vein? I was most impressed by Englands back up bowlers, we've discussed this (Wombats), before, & I think Tremlett & Bresnan were better then Broad & Finn, & they are what swung the series back Pommie's way after 1all. 4. Oz's best players underperformed. How much of that was because of England being in-form versus Oz players out of form is debatable. I believe its a healthy mix of both. Punter being caught twice down the legside suggests to me a bit of under performance, the tight lines most of the Pommie bowlers operated on, suggest out performed.

  • Meety on April 19, 2011, 23:41 GMT

    @5wombats - when discussing the term "form", you must conceed that there is an element of subjectivity. Form generally suggests a player is performing better then their usual output. The Ashes in Oz IMO - was about 1) England coming to Oz better prepared then Oz, (remembering Oz administraters capitulating to India & alowing a 2- Test series on the eve of the Ashes). Oz handed over home ground advantage, because Oz players had to re-acclimatise to their own pitches & conditions. On that front England had more time on Oz pitches! 2) Selection blunders. Not the prime reason Oz lost, but it led to a destabilised outfit. Hauritz would NOT of won Oz the Ashes, but had to be given the first 3 tests, & would of performed better then Doherty & Beer. 3) England players had players in FORM. Cook is a very interesting case. He put in a Bradmanesque summer. I've watched Cook coming thru the ranks, always knew he would play for England. Thought he'd end up on a par with say Vaughn. TBC

  • 5wombats on April 19, 2011, 20:52 GMT

    Oh dear, oh dear @Hatsforbats; you've got a very bad case of it. Lets start by examining "form". Ok. Aus lost 2-0 in India, lost 2-1 in England, could only manage 1-1 against a weak Pak side (in bowler friendly good 'ole England) and then lost 3-1 at home to England. Is that "just poor form" or is it "just not a very good side". Mmm... tricky. You'd better hope that your new captain has a different definition of "form" to the one you have. It nice to see that one or two Aussies are still enjoying that wonderful cruise destination Denial. Keep sending the postcards guys!

  • Something_Witty on April 20, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    Well said Biggus. *Stands and applauds*

  • Biggus on April 20, 2011, 10:08 GMT

    @5wombats-Glad to see you've woken up mate. I was beginning to think there were no fish here at all. Just having some fun. "Self-loathing hand wringing not a winning strategy?". How terribly bolshy! Standards everywhere are in decline!

  • 5wombats on April 20, 2011, 8:26 GMT

    @Biggus; ha ha! Self-loathing and handwringing went out of fashion in England in about 1998 as it was seen not to be a winning strategy. Now it's someone elses' turn - @Meety by the look of it. But seriously; I just got back from Sydney and have a lot of mates there. They'll all convinced that Clarke is the only choice. There seems to be a lot of confusion about what has happened to Australia in the past 2 years seen in newspapers, bar chat, etc. The position seems to be that Clarke is a bit of a glamour boy and when the expectation on him is cranked up he finds it hard to perform. This had better not be true! Yes - previous results are history - but you have to learn from history otherwise you end up making the same mistakes. Clarkes biggest challenge is to learn the lessons and then bring on Australias next generation, something the previous incumbant evidently failed to do. I like Clarke and I think he can do it. I genuinely wish him well.

  • Biggus on April 20, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    All this rehashing of the Ashes is a bit redundant. I can understand England fans wanting to do so, after all it's the most wonderful thing that's happened to their team for many a year-the apparent end of a long, long winter of discontent, but their erratic display in the world cup has posed some questions as to what we are witnessing. A great England resurgence or just a wild, uninhibited 'Summer of Love' down under? I wouldn't be quite so sanguine if I were an MCC fan. They played like champs and we like mugs, but I can't see us going 23 years before we win another series in England. The dominant win is now the least of England's concerns, as they must now show it wasn't a flash in the pan. Don't waste too much time crowing over our troubles guys. We'll be back, and sooner than our opponents would wish, then our MCC friends can revert to the self-loathing hand wringing that has always been so endearing.

  • Wozza-CY on April 20, 2011, 1:19 GMT

    @5wombats- Nothing new about Oz losing in India, 2-1 in England was a close series, vs Pak in Eng, no history on that one! The 3-1 recent Ashes series was a hiding & ozzies are the first to admit that & also that we were totally outplayed. There were a lot contributing factors to that drubbing, Eng were responsible for a lot of that with their preparation & play. The slide you point out is 'undeniable' (that's the destination south of 'Denial') & @landl47 Clarke prob doesn't have the players to reach heights of Oz cricket in the past decade, but I'm not sure most Aussie fans expect that. With the right selections, change in attitude & some 'form' Oz teams should do much better than recent efforts. Pontings career Avg is 53 & in the last Ashes is was 16. So is that poor form or is he just rubbish? Clarke avg is 46 & in that series is was 21. To contrast this Trott, Peitersen & Cook were all above their career averages in the recent ashes, proving they were in good 'form'.

  • Meety on April 20, 2011, 0:12 GMT

    So when its all said & done, the Ashes are yesterdays news. The only series that matters to me at the moment is the SL series in August. It will be interesting to see if Malinga plays ALL 3 tests. No Vaas no Murali, new captain for SL, they are beatable. Oz have plenty of untried players that NEED to be on that tour, guys like Copeland, Butterworth, & O'Keefe. The real test of whether the Shield comp is in decline we will be in how the newer players perform. Much brighter immediate future then Vacant slips, wombats, Maddys & ivan lendls think!

  • Meety on April 20, 2011, 0:06 GMT

    (Cont) - For the immediate future an Oz side that contains Watto, Punter, Pup & Hussey, with Haddin @7, is as good/comparable as any top 7 in the world. Oz have 2 spinners who were/are better then the 2 that were used this summer. Hauritz actually outbowled Swann in the 2009 Ashes taking more wickets in a head to head with Swann over the first 3 Tests. O'Keefe has a World Class 1st class ave of 24, & takes almost 4 wickets a match, he was overlooked for players with averages over 40. O'Keefe or Hauritz or both would not of won the Ashes for Oz, but the difference would of been dramatically reduced. The difference between Oz & England is NOT as big as people think. Whilst the Oz side is nowhere near as strong as say 2007/08, not many sides can say that either. Sth Africa, Oz, NZ, Pakis are not as strong as 2 or 3 yrs ago, SL will drop soon without the Murali factor, England are the only side to have improved in this period, & COULD continue. India are on the verge of a BIG fall! TBC

  • Meety on April 19, 2011, 23:49 GMT

    (cont) - Cook was ALMOST dropped prior to the Ashes, a scratchy ton against the Bangas saved him. He then comes to Oz & does then better then ANYBODYS wildest dreams. The questions are - Is Cook on the verge of plundering the world like Bradman? or Was his Ozzy summer a freak alignment of the cricketing Gods producing a near perfect summer? I thought Trott was brilliant, is he going to continue on in that vein? I was most impressed by Englands back up bowlers, we've discussed this (Wombats), before, & I think Tremlett & Bresnan were better then Broad & Finn, & they are what swung the series back Pommie's way after 1all. 4. Oz's best players underperformed. How much of that was because of England being in-form versus Oz players out of form is debatable. I believe its a healthy mix of both. Punter being caught twice down the legside suggests to me a bit of under performance, the tight lines most of the Pommie bowlers operated on, suggest out performed.

  • Meety on April 19, 2011, 23:41 GMT

    @5wombats - when discussing the term "form", you must conceed that there is an element of subjectivity. Form generally suggests a player is performing better then their usual output. The Ashes in Oz IMO - was about 1) England coming to Oz better prepared then Oz, (remembering Oz administraters capitulating to India & alowing a 2- Test series on the eve of the Ashes). Oz handed over home ground advantage, because Oz players had to re-acclimatise to their own pitches & conditions. On that front England had more time on Oz pitches! 2) Selection blunders. Not the prime reason Oz lost, but it led to a destabilised outfit. Hauritz would NOT of won Oz the Ashes, but had to be given the first 3 tests, & would of performed better then Doherty & Beer. 3) England players had players in FORM. Cook is a very interesting case. He put in a Bradmanesque summer. I've watched Cook coming thru the ranks, always knew he would play for England. Thought he'd end up on a par with say Vaughn. TBC

  • 5wombats on April 19, 2011, 20:52 GMT

    Oh dear, oh dear @Hatsforbats; you've got a very bad case of it. Lets start by examining "form". Ok. Aus lost 2-0 in India, lost 2-1 in England, could only manage 1-1 against a weak Pak side (in bowler friendly good 'ole England) and then lost 3-1 at home to England. Is that "just poor form" or is it "just not a very good side". Mmm... tricky. You'd better hope that your new captain has a different definition of "form" to the one you have. It nice to see that one or two Aussies are still enjoying that wonderful cruise destination Denial. Keep sending the postcards guys!

  • HatsforBats on April 19, 2011, 16:51 GMT

    @Meety: can't disagree with Hogg, after that 70-odd against SA I fell in love. But we need the 4 best bowlers & 6 best batsmen in the country and Faulkner/Butterworth aren't either of those. @maddy20: come back when India have won a series in Australia, meanwhile I'll wait for your inevitable SCG '08 response.... @5wombats: wow, to even suggest sport isn't about form says it all. Fair call Aus were outplayed comprehensively this last series, but '09 Aus batsmen and bowlers (i.e. the same team) dominated and were it not for Punter@Cardiff, Mitch@Lords and the selectors@the oval, Eng were lucky to get the win. Come back anytime.

  • VivGilchrist on April 19, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    ....or we could recruit 3 or 4 Saffers to strengthen the middle order. It's been done before.

  • 5wombats on April 19, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    @Meety - don't be distracted by wind up merchants like maddy20. This string is about Clarke, not sub-continentals. @landl47 is right; "He just doesn't have the players that he needs to be really successful". I am literally watching the MCG highlights as I write this and Aus are a complete and utter shambles. Not a one-off either - 88 all out against Pak 6 months earlier remember. Some Aussies on here think it's about form and that England caught Aus in a patch of poor form, ie, these Aus players are really good, but they were just in poor form. That view is garbage and Clarke needs to quickly break that mind-set. He won't find it easy - especially as his "form" was pretty terrible. On the other hand - Aus could just carry on with what they've got and hope for the "form" to return....! I hope Clarke can change it around; Aus fans deserve better.

  • Meety on April 19, 2011, 8:45 GMT

    @maddy20 - WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN????? SL v India in SL 1 ALL!!!!! India only won a test once Murali & Malinga weren't playing! Also - the stuff about WOULD of winning the final test in Sth Africa is really not smart. 170+ runs to go with 7 wickets to spare on a 5th day pitch - you think India would win if there was another 40 to 50 overs. YOU must be dreaming given India was scoring @ 2 rpo, they would of required almost a full 6th day to reach that score. LOL!!! Also I will love to continue this debate in a couple of years when SRT, Dravid, Laxman (possibly Sehwag), Yurav & Zaheer have retired - I don't see anyone 1/10th of any of those players coming thru!!!! LOL!!!!! LOL!!!!!!!

  • VivGilchrist on April 19, 2011, 8:09 GMT

    I still can't believe people bag-out Watson. Just makes no sense to me.

  • Something_Witty on April 19, 2011, 6:39 GMT

    Gilly4ever.. I do hope you're joking. How exactly is Watson inconsistent?? His batting is the epitome of consistency. (How many single figure scores has he made since he started opening in test matches???) And his bowling is always there or thereabouts. Saying he is inconsistent is just totally inaccurate, sorry.

  • landl47 on April 19, 2011, 5:11 GMT

    I'd say Clarke's own form is the least of his problems. Looking at the test side, he's got Watson, three age 35+ players and a group of younger players none of whom have as yet looked the part as batsmen; and a bowling side which was just taken for 500+ four times in five games by England. I know he has to show faith in his spinners, but really, he must know none of them are test class. He has to hope that Smith will get there, but that might not be for several years yet. Paine's a decent W/K and he should be in for Haddin immediately. Clarke's going to have a real struggle putting a competitive test team on the field for the next few years. I wish him all the best and I'm sure his own form will be just fine. He just doesn't have the players that he needs to be really successful.

  • Ozcricketwriter on April 19, 2011, 2:35 GMT

    I am shocked that Shane Watson was named as vice captain as to me he, like Mitchell Johnson, doesn't have any captaincy credentials whatsoever due to his lack of consistency. It is good to have a player who on his day is amazing, who is so up and down like that. It is good for the team. But as a captain he would be appalling. Watson needs a good captain to keep him on the level. He can't be that captain himself.

  • maddy20 on April 19, 2011, 2:28 GMT

    @Meety Where have you been? India has beaten SL away , drawn with SA(The third match would have been easily won if there were another 40-50 overs). Aus could not even save a test series in India since 2003 which ironically was their only series win in 40 years. If Aus do tour India now they can only DREAM of winning. Ponting got lucky with so many greats like Symonds, McGrath, Gilly, Hayden etc., playing for him. Once they retired his performance has dropped drastically. It has already taken them 4 years and I bet it will take a lot longer for the Aussies to be world beaters again. I do not see one bowler with 1/10th of McGrath or Warne's caliber in the current team!

  • Wozza-CY on April 19, 2011, 2:24 GMT

    Punter's numbers as a captain & player have done enough for him to go down in History as one of the best. Some things towards the end of his captaincy didn't help & in my opinion they are as follows; let personal rifts affect selection- Hauritz, had stubborness for personnel change- North, Hilfenhaus, Tait (not bowling Hastings once in the WC), he had trouble connecting with the younger players- Smith & Hughes etc & his tactics towards the end showed his desperation i.e. changing the field & talking to the bowler every third ball. Almost trying 'too' hard to get a wicket rather than be patient & build pressure. The little we have seen of Clarke, he doesn't appear to have these traits & that will serve him well at least initially. With the right selections he could turn things around reasonably quickly. However, for any test team to prosper 3 & 4 need lots & lots of runs!! We don't care for pretty runs, gritty ones will do.

  • Meety on April 19, 2011, 1:15 GMT

    @manish053 - not going to argue, but he has 3 other series he has to win before India, SL & SA away, which India couldn't win! @ yuio3456 - I agree in that people think because you have great players in the side its easy. The reality is that someone like Warne was high maintenance, you only have to read anything S Waugh said about him, lots of man management required. I don't think Symonds would of been particularly easy nor Martyn to manage either, & we've all seen the white line fever Pidgeon had. Keeping all that brilliance on the same page is a skill. @pipsonian - yes. Punter needs to be somewhere near his best or Oz will have a lot longer trough then I am hoping for!

  • Meety on April 19, 2011, 1:08 GMT

    @ HatsforBats - I'd say Brad Hogg was bits & pieces, but Faulkner & Butterworth were in the top 3 or 4 Shield wicket takers this year. They are at the very least bowlers who can bat very well. Butterworth took as many wickets as Copeland, with an average 7 runs better this year also scored nearly 400 runs @ 34. Faulkner was the 4th highest wicket taker & ave 30 with the bat. I am prepared to conceed that maybe the juicier nature of the pitch in Tassie may of contributed but you can only go on the numbers in the end (unless you watch a lot of it on TV). Faulkner was on the most runs & wickets lists in all formats.

  • Meety on April 19, 2011, 0:45 GMT

    @ VivGilchrist - his body language is stuffed. He drops the soldiers, he struggles to walk back to the end of his run up if an appeal goes against him, his ave in ODIs is 64 batting 2nd because he doesn't have to worry about bowling later, whilst ave 30 when batting 1st. We often batted first in the Ashes & he was involved in a number of run outs. Yes he was very consistent, yes I am actually a fan of his, but some of his dismissals when he was all over the Poms were much harder to take then some of his scratchy team mates. Then there is the very real issue of him getting out just after getting 50 or just before getting 100. I know a very strong retort is - at least he is geting to 50 & 90, I'll accept that, but once he gets his mind right, (free of captaincy burdens like Flintoff), he will truely be a superstar. The difference between Watto & Kallis is between the 6 inches of real estate between their ears. Not talent, plain mental strength. He's getting better though.

  • HatsforBats on April 18, 2011, 23:27 GMT

    @Meety: agree with O'Keefe & definitely Copeland, but I don't think we need 2 bits & pieces players in Butterworth & Faulkner when we have a world class all-rounder in Watto and a steadily developing young one in Smith. It is true that Clarke hasn't played one of those Punter@Edgbaston'05 captain's knock-type innings, but he's captain now and maybe he will. I jus hope he solves that annoying habit of getting out just before a break in play.

  • pipsonian on April 18, 2011, 22:02 GMT

    Rick Pontings performances will be crucial to the success of Clarke The Captain.

  • on April 18, 2011, 17:22 GMT

    Clarke is the most obvious choice for captain there is no doubt about it. Haddin has only been a regular for a very short time and is not there to stay as he is already 33. Watson is not the captain type at all, and it would make no sense to put him under even more pressure. There are however two major problems for Clarke, number one this has to be Australia's lousiest side for the last 10-15 years he needs good quality bowlers and even the new batsmen are not showing any good signs. Number two, unfortunately for him the captaincy has come at a time when he is himself struggling for form as a batsman. Although he might regain his own form, rebuilding the team will be his major test, a test which even Ponting failed when all the greats left the team..not everyone is a Steve Waugh.

  • manish053 on April 18, 2011, 16:53 GMT

    clarke crowned as successor of Punter who left a large victorious regime so he has to confront this to get respect within and without. Inevitably triumph over Bangaldesh cannot get respect for new aussie captain and for that he should concentrate his eye to series against India and Australia foremost ausses. An australian skipper only can prove himself by winning ausses lest he is sent to anonymity.

  • sidzy on April 18, 2011, 16:39 GMT

    I think clarke needs to just get the player back which he was in 2004 when he entered the scene. That MC could win matches on its own its just about picking right deliveries to hit over the top, something he showed in 100 against bangladesh. probably some of his mates like - punter, hussey ,warney, haddin, gilly , hayden, langer support him to regain his confidence and in warney he might hav the best man to help him wiyh this issue. OThERWISE I HAVE NO DOUBT HE HAS THE BEST BRAINS AND THE MOST TACTICALLY GIFTED CAPTION.

  • espncric123 on April 18, 2011, 15:21 GMT

    Clarke's success will depend the team that he is going to build over the years and his own form as a batsman. He has learnt a lot under captaincy of Ponting and hope will convert those lessons into results. Difficult year ahead for AUS and Clarke considering the tough matches against SL,SA and IND this year.

  • bigwonder on April 18, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    Why such a fuss for a Auzzie captain to play a spinal innings? Why can't he be an all-rounder who helps the team when needed and is not a big show-off? What Australia needs now is a stable captain then a show off (Pointing has done his fair share). I think Clarke has a tough road ahead compared to Pointing (who had it much easy with strong team players which allowed Pointing to play his natural aggressive game), not so easy for Clarke who has to rebuild the team. People are giving Pointing way too much credit then he deserves.

  • VivGilchrist on April 18, 2011, 12:27 GMT

    @Meety. Why do people criticize Wattos mental strength? He's been our best player the last 2 years. He scores the bulk of his runs in ODIs batting 2nd when the pressure is on. In the Ashes he opened the innings usually with a huge deficit on the board against a swinging ball and never lost his wicket cheaply while his team-mates (inc Clarke) capitulated around him. He was consistent even though he was batting out of position. Sure, I wouldn't make him captain, but please don't question his mental strength. If he's weak, how frail are the rest of them?

  • yuio3456 on April 18, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    I find it laughable that someone would think Punter failed at captaining Australia. His Test and ODI record speaks for itself and succeeded in leading a side which lost many great players from its years of dominance.

  • Meety on April 18, 2011, 10:29 GMT

    @Winsome - don't agree with "...he'll never have that ability to play 'spinal innings' in the way Punter and even Mike Hussey has had..." Whether he does or not play that type of innings remains to be seen, but he certainly has the ability to do so.

  • visualhyd2 on April 18, 2011, 10:29 GMT

    difficult times ahead for Clarke

  • nce8 on April 18, 2011, 10:20 GMT

    I like Ponting better, but as long as pup scores runs, I won't mind a lot.

  • Meety on April 18, 2011, 7:50 GMT

    @ CricLogan - not much I agree with there matey. The Clarke stuff I suppose is just a matter of opinion. Regarding Watto for captaincy - no way! He has too much on his plate at the moment. Look at what happenned to Freddie Flintoff! Also - I think Watto is not mentally tough enough for the job, when things are going bad his shoulders drop, at least Punter always believed a match was salvagable. @popcorn - dunno why he hasn't fired @ #4, I always thought that would be his eventual position, but I agree, trialling him back @ #5 may be the answer, with Punter & Huss either side of him. In ODIs his performances are a LOT better when captain v not captain, hoping that will translate to Tests. @Something_Witty - I wonder if Warney will get in his ear re: field settings etc? Like to see the txt messages between the two during a lunch break!!!!!

  • Winsome on April 18, 2011, 7:46 GMT

    Pup will be a better skipper tactically than Punter, but he'll never have that ability to play 'spinal innings' in the way Punter and even Mike Hussey has had. They'll have to find someone else for that job, it won't be Watson doing it either, he doesn't ton up enough.

    Perhaps the next generation will provide a stalwart.

  • Biggus on April 18, 2011, 7:30 GMT

    I'm pretty comfortable with Clarke as captain as long as he makes runs, and ideally enough of those to lead from the front. Do that and the guys will be pretty impressed. I think he's a good deal sharper tactically than Ricky and way, way cooler in the 'not losing it on the field' department. Anyone who's played enough to have a captain have a 'red haze' moment knows how everyone starts looking down and kicking the turf. I've never known it to lift a team when the skipper loses the plot. He seems to have his personal life in order and he handles the press well. What's not to like at this stage? The weight of the world seems to have been lifted from Ponting's shoulders, though I notice he still never seems to think he's out. Plenty of batsmen like that though. So it's all about the runs, me old matey Pup. Keep making those and Bob's your uncle!

  • CricLogan on April 18, 2011, 7:21 GMT

    The main reason why Ponting failed as a captain is because Clarke didn't step up when the big guys called it a day. Clarke is a cunning kid and he will not succeed in the long term. He will fail this season and Chappell's will call for his head as they normally do. Someone like Haddin or Watson should be made the captain. By the way, from where did that Century came from Clarke?????

  • popcorn on April 18, 2011, 5:22 GMT

    Michael Clarke has shown admirable leadership qualities whenever he captained Australia - in the Twenty20 World Cup, the thrashing he gave England 5 -1 in the ODIs and the clean sweep of Bangla Desh in the recent ODIs. His tactical nous is brilliant.

    He needs to make centuries in Test cricket - the series in Sri Lanka and South Africa will be his true Test. Then the home series against New Zealand and Insia.

    I think he should bat in the position he scored his most runs - Number 5.

  • Ozcricketwriter on April 18, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    He got over the first hurdle, which was a win against Bangladesh. But he has so much work to do it isn't funny, and that is just to earn his spot as captain, let alone to get respect back for the team. Time will tell if he ends up earning his spot. Ricky Ponting himself was lucky to end up with the test captaincy but ended up earning it. Perhaps the same will be true of Clarke.

  • Something_Witty on April 18, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    Pup doesn't deserve the majority of criticism directed at him. Very maligned, both as a person and a player. Best of luck Pup, play and captain well. The runs will come soon.

  • Meety on April 18, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    Don't see the need to change the top order much, hopefully the bowling attack will be based on Oz domestic season with Butterworth, Faulkner, O'Keefe & Copeland in the squad to SL. I'd like to see plenty of change in the ODI squad though!

  • on April 18, 2011, 3:48 GMT

    pretty sure clarke debuted in 04, not 08..

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  • on April 18, 2011, 3:48 GMT

    pretty sure clarke debuted in 04, not 08..

  • Meety on April 18, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    Don't see the need to change the top order much, hopefully the bowling attack will be based on Oz domestic season with Butterworth, Faulkner, O'Keefe & Copeland in the squad to SL. I'd like to see plenty of change in the ODI squad though!

  • Something_Witty on April 18, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    Pup doesn't deserve the majority of criticism directed at him. Very maligned, both as a person and a player. Best of luck Pup, play and captain well. The runs will come soon.

  • Ozcricketwriter on April 18, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    He got over the first hurdle, which was a win against Bangladesh. But he has so much work to do it isn't funny, and that is just to earn his spot as captain, let alone to get respect back for the team. Time will tell if he ends up earning his spot. Ricky Ponting himself was lucky to end up with the test captaincy but ended up earning it. Perhaps the same will be true of Clarke.

  • popcorn on April 18, 2011, 5:22 GMT

    Michael Clarke has shown admirable leadership qualities whenever he captained Australia - in the Twenty20 World Cup, the thrashing he gave England 5 -1 in the ODIs and the clean sweep of Bangla Desh in the recent ODIs. His tactical nous is brilliant.

    He needs to make centuries in Test cricket - the series in Sri Lanka and South Africa will be his true Test. Then the home series against New Zealand and Insia.

    I think he should bat in the position he scored his most runs - Number 5.

  • CricLogan on April 18, 2011, 7:21 GMT

    The main reason why Ponting failed as a captain is because Clarke didn't step up when the big guys called it a day. Clarke is a cunning kid and he will not succeed in the long term. He will fail this season and Chappell's will call for his head as they normally do. Someone like Haddin or Watson should be made the captain. By the way, from where did that Century came from Clarke?????

  • Biggus on April 18, 2011, 7:30 GMT

    I'm pretty comfortable with Clarke as captain as long as he makes runs, and ideally enough of those to lead from the front. Do that and the guys will be pretty impressed. I think he's a good deal sharper tactically than Ricky and way, way cooler in the 'not losing it on the field' department. Anyone who's played enough to have a captain have a 'red haze' moment knows how everyone starts looking down and kicking the turf. I've never known it to lift a team when the skipper loses the plot. He seems to have his personal life in order and he handles the press well. What's not to like at this stage? The weight of the world seems to have been lifted from Ponting's shoulders, though I notice he still never seems to think he's out. Plenty of batsmen like that though. So it's all about the runs, me old matey Pup. Keep making those and Bob's your uncle!

  • Winsome on April 18, 2011, 7:46 GMT

    Pup will be a better skipper tactically than Punter, but he'll never have that ability to play 'spinal innings' in the way Punter and even Mike Hussey has had. They'll have to find someone else for that job, it won't be Watson doing it either, he doesn't ton up enough.

    Perhaps the next generation will provide a stalwart.

  • Meety on April 18, 2011, 7:50 GMT

    @ CricLogan - not much I agree with there matey. The Clarke stuff I suppose is just a matter of opinion. Regarding Watto for captaincy - no way! He has too much on his plate at the moment. Look at what happenned to Freddie Flintoff! Also - I think Watto is not mentally tough enough for the job, when things are going bad his shoulders drop, at least Punter always believed a match was salvagable. @popcorn - dunno why he hasn't fired @ #4, I always thought that would be his eventual position, but I agree, trialling him back @ #5 may be the answer, with Punter & Huss either side of him. In ODIs his performances are a LOT better when captain v not captain, hoping that will translate to Tests. @Something_Witty - I wonder if Warney will get in his ear re: field settings etc? Like to see the txt messages between the two during a lunch break!!!!!

  • nce8 on April 18, 2011, 10:20 GMT

    I like Ponting better, but as long as pup scores runs, I won't mind a lot.