Australia news October 19, 2012

'Michael as captain has been very high quality'

Ricky Ponting offers a generous assessment of Michael Clarke as captain, and looks at the future for Australian cricket
  shares 48

Ricky Ponting laughs when asked whether or not he was a better captain of Australia than Michael Clarke. Eighteen months into the job, Clarke's leadership has helped push the national team to a point where they can glimpse the world No. 1 ranking, a summit that will be achieved if they can defeat South Africa at home in November.

When he gave up the captaincy, Ponting had said he hoped to give Clarke the best chance of putting his stamp on a new team, something the younger man has done. Irrespective of their relative merits as tacticians, Ponting and Clarke both need each other still, especially if Ponting can bat with the authority he showed against India last summer. While a little envious of the support network Clarke has around him as a result of the Argus review, Ponting is generous in his praise.

"The thing I know about him, and it was similar to when I took over the captaincy as well, I think Michael's been able to elevate his game to a different level," Ponting said. "I think the way he played over the summer last year was very impressive, both one-day cricket and Test cricket. And when I took over the captaincy it was a bit of the same with me as well.

"Certain players respond to that responsibility a little bit better and make everybody feel and look very comfortable. As players and captains you're always judged on records, and what Michael has done as a captain and a player so far has been of a very high quality."

Clarke's role as a formal selector as well as a captain is a dual post Ponting coveted during his time as a leader, and he had little doubt that the system brought in following Argus' frank critique of the state of the national team had made a major difference to the team's fortunes. Having slipped to as low as fifth in the world following the 2010-11 Ashes drubbing, Australia pushed back up to third with series wins over Sri Lanka, India and West Indies, plus two 1-1 results against South Africa and New Zealand.

"If you're looking to lead an organisation or a team well, you want to have total responsibility for what's going on," Ponting said. "I never had that, but that's something I'd always asked for and it's good to see that's the direction the game's going because I think it's the direction it had to go.

"I think there's a lot of positive things that have happened around Australian cricket in the last 12 months. The way the selection thing is structured now with [the team performance manager] Pat Howard being involved, some really good and smart decisions are being made around giving players in our team the best chance possible."

Following the all change approach taken last summer, this one should bring a greater measure of stability, and Ponting said the team needed to consolidate its gains. There will be few excuses in terms of staff, structure or schedule, either for Ponting or the Test team as a whole, if they do not keep up their winning ways.

"Absolutely, we don't want to be taking any steps backwards," Ponting said. "CA are going to give us everything we want and everything we need to be the best team we can be, and as players now we have to, one, understand that, and two, win games of cricket. We're international players being paid good money to win games of cricket, and that's what we have to do.

"I couldn't ask for anything better really than my lead-in, having a couple of months off after the Caribbean, then getting back in the gym and training hard for a couple of months before the Tassie pre-season stuff started. A couple of games under my belt now and Tassie's got off to a pretty good start. I've a couple more Shield games to play yet and another couple of one-dayers, so there'll be no excuses as far as I'm concerned about where my game will be by the time November comes around."

The winter brought an unfamiliar sense of peace and quiet for Ponting, as he returned home from the West Indies to enjoy the longest break of his international career. Now exclusively concerned with Test matches, Ponting said the winter's experience had been foreign, but refreshing.

"You're definitely fresher but whether that means you're better off cricket-wise is another thing. Something so foreign to me is not playing cricket continually," he said. "One thing I do know is I've now got Test cricket only and only a few one-day games for Tassie through the course of the year, so I've had a pretty clear picture of what my career looks like. That can't hurt. Also having a good break and some sort of pre-season for the first time in 20 years is a little bit foreign as well, but it's been very enjoyable."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on October 22, 2012, 23:59 GMT

    @Moppa on (October 22 2012, 10:20 AM GMT) - no doubting his debut ton was a classic & he had some good bowling figures too in that series! I think that at the time though there were a few other more credentialled batsmen around that missed out - don't get me wrong I was 100% happy with him getting the nod when he did! @pat_one_back on (October 22 2012, 09:16 AM GMT) - I get your point although MJ did play v SL & Saffas over Lyons first 4 or 5 tests. The pace bowling is disciplined. Too early to tell exactly, but I do suspect that Pup's captaincy is a prime reason for Lyon's success.

  • ygkd on October 22, 2012, 20:48 GMT

    I don't understand why Clarke engendered such animosity as he did towards his captaincy at the start. Australia hasn't gotten as much right recently as it probably thinks it has, but the captaincy is one bit that's working and not just for the short-term.

  • Moppa on October 22, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    @Meety, if Clarke got his baggy green too soon, I'm just wondering where we can find another batsman to make 151 on debut!!! If he's out there, he should play at the Gabba! ;-)

  • pat_one_back on October 22, 2012, 9:16 GMT

    @Meety, also notable that Lyon has not had MJ's pressure relieving bowling to contend with. Aussie fast bowling has been a lot more disciplined and I think Lyon has had opportunities to attack that Hauritz, Krezja & X were denied. Full credit to Clarke throwing him the ball in this opportunities. Seemed to me Punter just decided in his head that MJ was McGrath and any spinner picked was Warne and the old plans he'd followed and borrowed would eventually just work.

  • Meety on October 22, 2012, 2:32 GMT

    Always been a fan of Clarke's & often wondered why he cops the negativity he gets, (I do concede he probably got his Baggy Green a bit sooner than he should of). That said I have from the moment I saw him captaining the T20 sides in Punter's absence - knew he'd be a good captain (strategically at least). I have said a few times now, that Pup will be the closest glimpse we will ever get to seeing what Warney would of been like as a Test captain. Early days yet - but I am now wondering if Lyon's recent lack of success (albeit relatively short) is coincidental to him NOT playing under Pup? Statistically, Lyon is a way better bowler under Pup than anyone else given he has performed better in the Test arena than in FC cricket. I acknowledge, time may say that Lyon has over performed in Tests to this point, but at the moment there is a strong indicator - that Pup is strategically very good at getting the best out of Lyon!

  • Meety on October 21, 2012, 23:49 GMT

    @NickKnightIsMyBunny on (October 21 2012, 15:18 PM GMT) - whilst the rant you note was an unfortunate blot on Punter's record, the fact is, Punter did try & get agreement whereby both sides would not bend the replacement rule. England declined & were ultimately contrary to the Gentleman's rules that have applied to cricket whereby the 12th man replaces a player taking leave off the firels. England replaced cumbersome bowlers like Harmison & replaced him with their best fielder in the country (who wasn't in the squad), several times thru out the series. So given that context, ANY batsmen in the world, would be a little put out when a series is on the line! So to pass judgement in that fashion is IMO, is being pious!

  • Essex_Man on October 21, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    Like a lot of truly great players, Punter was a lousy captain. Dreadfully negative and he let it all get on top of him - as best exemplified by his infamous rant after being run out at Trent Bridge in 2005. Clarke seems to be doing a decent job but his captaincy stats and win ratio will never match Ricky's given the mediocre talent at his disposal.

  • on October 21, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    Dear Ricky, do you know how great you are? I reckon, you don't . Michael is simply copying you mate. He learnt it all from you.

  • Barnesy4444 on October 21, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    Clarke has a much better nouse for the direction a game is taking than Ricky and is better at adapting to it. He sets better, more attacking fields suited to our bowlers at the time to exploit a batsman's weaknesses. On field he's much better than Ricky, off field, well only the players can answer. As a batsman Clarke has a long way to go but his last summer was a very good start but will he ever be as good as Ricky? Probably not but then not many are.

  • OneEyedAussie on October 21, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    Generous words from Ponting. I expected when Ponting retired as captain Australia's ODI ranking would fall, as Punter is an excellent 50-over captain. However, he struggled from 2008-10 to manage a test team in transition. The Johnson and Hauritz woes are obvious (and polarised) examples of his shortcomings as a captain. Clarke has shown more spine, for example Marsh was dropped when he failed to perform whereas players like Johnson were persisted with under Ponting.

  • Meety on October 22, 2012, 23:59 GMT

    @Moppa on (October 22 2012, 10:20 AM GMT) - no doubting his debut ton was a classic & he had some good bowling figures too in that series! I think that at the time though there were a few other more credentialled batsmen around that missed out - don't get me wrong I was 100% happy with him getting the nod when he did! @pat_one_back on (October 22 2012, 09:16 AM GMT) - I get your point although MJ did play v SL & Saffas over Lyons first 4 or 5 tests. The pace bowling is disciplined. Too early to tell exactly, but I do suspect that Pup's captaincy is a prime reason for Lyon's success.

  • ygkd on October 22, 2012, 20:48 GMT

    I don't understand why Clarke engendered such animosity as he did towards his captaincy at the start. Australia hasn't gotten as much right recently as it probably thinks it has, but the captaincy is one bit that's working and not just for the short-term.

  • Moppa on October 22, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    @Meety, if Clarke got his baggy green too soon, I'm just wondering where we can find another batsman to make 151 on debut!!! If he's out there, he should play at the Gabba! ;-)

  • pat_one_back on October 22, 2012, 9:16 GMT

    @Meety, also notable that Lyon has not had MJ's pressure relieving bowling to contend with. Aussie fast bowling has been a lot more disciplined and I think Lyon has had opportunities to attack that Hauritz, Krezja & X were denied. Full credit to Clarke throwing him the ball in this opportunities. Seemed to me Punter just decided in his head that MJ was McGrath and any spinner picked was Warne and the old plans he'd followed and borrowed would eventually just work.

  • Meety on October 22, 2012, 2:32 GMT

    Always been a fan of Clarke's & often wondered why he cops the negativity he gets, (I do concede he probably got his Baggy Green a bit sooner than he should of). That said I have from the moment I saw him captaining the T20 sides in Punter's absence - knew he'd be a good captain (strategically at least). I have said a few times now, that Pup will be the closest glimpse we will ever get to seeing what Warney would of been like as a Test captain. Early days yet - but I am now wondering if Lyon's recent lack of success (albeit relatively short) is coincidental to him NOT playing under Pup? Statistically, Lyon is a way better bowler under Pup than anyone else given he has performed better in the Test arena than in FC cricket. I acknowledge, time may say that Lyon has over performed in Tests to this point, but at the moment there is a strong indicator - that Pup is strategically very good at getting the best out of Lyon!

  • Meety on October 21, 2012, 23:49 GMT

    @NickKnightIsMyBunny on (October 21 2012, 15:18 PM GMT) - whilst the rant you note was an unfortunate blot on Punter's record, the fact is, Punter did try & get agreement whereby both sides would not bend the replacement rule. England declined & were ultimately contrary to the Gentleman's rules that have applied to cricket whereby the 12th man replaces a player taking leave off the firels. England replaced cumbersome bowlers like Harmison & replaced him with their best fielder in the country (who wasn't in the squad), several times thru out the series. So given that context, ANY batsmen in the world, would be a little put out when a series is on the line! So to pass judgement in that fashion is IMO, is being pious!

  • Essex_Man on October 21, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    Like a lot of truly great players, Punter was a lousy captain. Dreadfully negative and he let it all get on top of him - as best exemplified by his infamous rant after being run out at Trent Bridge in 2005. Clarke seems to be doing a decent job but his captaincy stats and win ratio will never match Ricky's given the mediocre talent at his disposal.

  • on October 21, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    Dear Ricky, do you know how great you are? I reckon, you don't . Michael is simply copying you mate. He learnt it all from you.

  • Barnesy4444 on October 21, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    Clarke has a much better nouse for the direction a game is taking than Ricky and is better at adapting to it. He sets better, more attacking fields suited to our bowlers at the time to exploit a batsman's weaknesses. On field he's much better than Ricky, off field, well only the players can answer. As a batsman Clarke has a long way to go but his last summer was a very good start but will he ever be as good as Ricky? Probably not but then not many are.

  • OneEyedAussie on October 21, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    Generous words from Ponting. I expected when Ponting retired as captain Australia's ODI ranking would fall, as Punter is an excellent 50-over captain. However, he struggled from 2008-10 to manage a test team in transition. The Johnson and Hauritz woes are obvious (and polarised) examples of his shortcomings as a captain. Clarke has shown more spine, for example Marsh was dropped when he failed to perform whereas players like Johnson were persisted with under Ponting.

  • on October 21, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    ponting is only a best caption all over the world . No is as him . No one can be as him

  • TommytuckerSaffa on October 21, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    Ponting will be retiring after the SA test series. Looking forward to watching him fall over his front pad and get out LBW to fast swing bowling. Love it when Ozzies start patting each other on the back with average performances, reminds me of another country who were recently trounced.

  • Wozza-CY on October 21, 2012, 8:38 GMT

    Like RandyOz- I was a big doubter of Clarke as a player & his mental fortitude. To my surprise he has done a stirling job & has risen to the challenge. He has got the best out of his players which is half the battle when captaining. Like Meety- I feel Punter had a very difficult period towards the end of his captaincy & I think he was guilty of taking TOO much of the responsibility for the state of Australian cricket at the time & that clouded his judgement somewhat. Poo-poo to the cynics who say he is only praising Clarke to save his spot in the test team, I think Punter is as genuinely pleasantly surprised as the rest of us!

  • _Australian_ on October 21, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    @srriaj317. Can't agree with comment "support spinners which is *extremely* rare to see in an Australian captain". Are you suggesting that Warne, May, Miller, McGill, etc. didn't get a good go by captain's Border, Taylor, Waugh and Ponting? I think the Australian captain's are the complete opposite to your comment. Actually sometimes when trying to win a test they tend to over bowl the spinner. The Cardiff ashes test comes to mind. Also how many times did you see part timers M.Waugh, Clarke, Border, etc. bowl as well as the front line spinner? You sound to me like you are a frustrated spinner not getting a good go by your captain. Most grade captain's are not very good. Usually club stalwarts rather than someone more suited.

  • pt239 on October 21, 2012, 3:09 GMT

    both ponting and clarke are world class captains but it seems ponting is jealous of clarkes success as a captain and a player.......clarke took over when nothing was going good for australia and ponting ....and now that they can stare at being no.1 again.....but with ponting , he looks jealous ,but he has to stay nice and say good things about his captain otherwise he might get dropped himself from the test side as well

  • Meety on October 21, 2012, 2:34 GMT

    Punter's captaincy will always be viewed too negatively by the average fan. Whilst he has good stats as captain, he himself deflects that to the players he had in his Team. Punter was a very good ODI captain, Oz won undefeated W/Cups under his stewardship which were achieved despite adversity (Warne doping) & no Lee. He used his bowlers very well in ODIs, to me - he seemed to understand the 50 over game very well. Unfortunately as a Test captain, his reign will be remembered for Oz's decline. I rate Punter's last years as a Test captain as about the hardest ANY captain has ever had to endure. The only bloke in the world who has been thru what Punter has, would be Richie Richardson, presiding over diminishing returns personally & team-wise. There were things that dissappointed me about Punter's last years, not bowling Lee in India & using part timers when India was on the ropes, th fields for Hauritz on the next India tour & Cardiff. But in saying that - he dug in, when we needed him.

  • pat_one_back on October 21, 2012, 0:50 GMT

    Dhoni... Really @sendtobrij, interested in what this new sport he's playing might be but this is a cricketing post.

  • Meety on October 21, 2012, 0:22 GMT

    @mikey76 on (October 20 2012, 23:21 PM GMT) - if Oz win 1nil or 2-1 over the Saffas we become #1. So you may not have to be waiting long! Although I admit to be #1 & NOT hold the Ashes would be very hollow!

  • mikey76 on October 20, 2012, 23:21 GMT

    Clarke is an excellent captain, but Australia lack quality in a lot of areas and I don't see them becoming no.1 anytime soon.

  • srriaj317 on October 20, 2012, 23:16 GMT

    Clarkey is easily a better captain than Punter. The biggest difference I have noticed is that Clarke really knows how to play and support his spinners which is *extremely* rare to see in an Australian captain. This problem stems right from the club and grade cricket levels where spinners are treated as part-timers even on helpful pitches. Clarke is brave enough to try out ideas and force things to happen when the game seems to meander.

  • sendtobrij on October 20, 2012, 22:43 GMT

    Dhoni is the best captain at the moment.

  • on October 20, 2012, 19:24 GMT

    pub is the best the best captain around and punter is the legend one of the all- time great captains.... aussies really need to find some goood batsman.....they need to polish the great talent of ppl like khawaja nic maddinson mitchel marsh shaun marsh and ben cutting... bowling attack looks formidable better then south african and so called english attack... james pattinson pat cummins ryan harris ben hilfenhaus peter siddle mitchel starc wat else u want...... they have very good future of all rounders like mitchel marsh ben cutting henriques alonng with great watson for few years...

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on October 20, 2012, 17:42 GMT

    clarke can lead Australia back to no.1 position , but to remain there they have to find a few quality batsmen , don't know much about Australian domestic cricket , but khawaja, hughes and shaun marsh does have some good potential in them , and their pace attack can easily become the worlds best provided they stay fit (way better than SA or overrated england attack)

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on October 20, 2012, 17:35 GMT

    without doubt the best captain in international cricket at the moment ,and hoping he keeps up the good work , usually captains start like this , instinctive and ready to attack but as time passes they start settling into defensive and comfortable set up , the way he declared from behind in WI really showed how interesting test cricket can become if played with right mindset

  • RandyOZ on October 20, 2012, 15:56 GMT

    Without doubt the best Captain in world cricket. Totally proved me wrong. Well done Pup and we'll be number 1 soon!

  • on October 20, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    PONTING much better captain than M.Clarke,, M. Clarke is also doing very good job but still no body in world can compete with PUNTER in Captaincy. I still remember he won Champions Trophy in 2009 as Captain with just an average team, we were expecting that that team would not be in Semis,

  • Percy_Fender on October 20, 2012, 13:49 GMT

    I agree with Ricky that Clarke is a very good Captain. In fact much better than Ricky himself actually. Ponting had the services of some of the finest players in his team over the entire period of his Captaincy. I don't think you can ask for more if you have Hayden,Langer, McGrath Warne and Gilchrist in your side.. Clarke on the other hand is Captain of a team aspiring to be the best again. But most of them other than his bunch of fast bowlers and Watson are still feeling their way. But it is possible that Clarke may take Australia to No 1 again.Of course if they play mostly at home where thire fast bowlers can make any team feel inadequate. I have no doubt at all that under Clarke Australia is destined to regain the Ashes next summer, even if they do not get to beat South Africa. I say this because unlike in 2011, when their wickets suited their fast bowlers to a T againnst India who had an overweight Zaheer and a generally poor bowling side,Steyn and co will be different

  • 2.14istherunrate on October 20, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    Clarke is the most impressive leader I have seen in a while. He has all the imagination of one who just throws away the standard script and decides by the game situation, not by numbers. I only hope our new captain, Cook, does that because I am bored of ultra defensive fields, especially sweepers out by the end of twenty overs. Poning however great a player, was a godsend to us as a captan, as he hardly had a clue and was more notable for his bad attitude than any tactical awareness.

  • natmastak_so-called on October 20, 2012, 13:34 GMT

    trying to cling on to his test spot by praising his captain.

  • pat_one_back on October 20, 2012, 13:13 GMT

    Clarke is far more astute, he reads play well, creates opportunities with his fields and bowling strategies. Punter would bowl & bowl MJ hoping for a mistake or a fluke, missing opportunities along the way. recall him hiding the likes of MacGill & S. Clark on their SCG bowling MJ at both ends... Recent series results say top 3 team, that's surely obvious to even the barmiest of trolls. Aust have come on a bit since last SA series (which was a victory squandered) , will be interesting to see a more mature confident and assured Clarke this summer, in touching distance of a possibly unprecedented rise from 5th to 1st.

  • on October 20, 2012, 11:43 GMT

    Ponting was an excellent leader and MJ Clake is doing an excellent job as well.

  • Simoc on October 20, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    Clarke has shown the ability to lift and inspire a team. Ponting never really showed any man management skills or tactical ability. It was definetly lead from the front and follow me mentality. A great batsman but Australias most average captain in living memory. Nevertheless in a team of champions he has an excellent record.

  • u.t.k.a.l on October 20, 2012, 11:36 GMT

    Ponting is the bestes captain...whoever is comparing Clarke with Ponting listen my words and ask Clarke to bring a 50over world cup which Ponting brought twice....few are commenting here when ponting took over the captaincy there were good players thats not an valid excuse....Clark do have world class players in his squad.

    Warner, Watson, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Wade, Cummins, Starc, Hilfy, Siddle.

  • on October 20, 2012, 10:58 GMT

    MJ Clark is a really good leader than Ponting,whose earlier achievements as captain were completely based on the performance once in life time players like Ghilchrist, Warne, McGrath, and Ponting himself. Once these greats were out, Ponting's captaincy was exposed, he was too timid and defensive totally different to Waugh, and Tylor. I am sure Australia cricket will revert to its old invicible position in a few years time; Michael Starc and Pattinsol will tear apart England in next summer.

  • SpadeaSpade on October 20, 2012, 10:11 GMT

    As Stated in this forum approx 18 months ago , Pup will take Australia back to number one spot inside 3 years as Captain. He has the strategy and does not let losing a test worry him out of making the right decisions. ( Declarations to open up results). Carke to me looks like a Combo of Tubby and Warney in his strategic thinking. The other thing he has done is stuck with a spinner and actually bowled them at the right time. Lyon may not be the greatest spinner the country has , but his results show that pup is behind him and that he knows his role in the team. I just hope pup shows his strength by moving ahead without his mates Johnson and Haddin. It would be a mistake to play them ahead of Wade and Starc. Australia would be silly to go into the 1st test without starc because it gives the capt that natural variety all great attacks need.

  • Jaffa79 on October 20, 2012, 10:01 GMT

    Ponting has been a champion cricketer but he is hurting Australian cricketer by sticking around. He needed to retire to give some younger players a go before the next Ashes series. People harp on about the bowling stocks in Australia (debatable) but the real problem is the batting stocks: Cowan, Forrest, Smith and Bailey are all nowhere near Test level and Warner is a glorified slogger. The fact that the Aussies play Hussey, Ponting and may go back to Haddin underlines a lack of talent in the country and an insecurity amongst the selectors. Clarke, I do agree has been a revelation as captain and is easily the best captain in wolrd cricket.

  • Hippiantor on October 20, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    @FFL......another 20years? oops just realized you're talking about England

  • ham1990 on October 20, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    I agree with @bharatputra83 in saying that Clarke is a much more astute captain than Ponting. I find that Clarke reads the game very well, and acts accordingly...not to mention he isn't afraid of being agressive, which in this day and age is very rare. I think a bit of Warnie's tactical shrewdness has rubbed off on Clarke, and Australia is reaping the benefits of an aggressive captain.

  • Beertjie on October 20, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    I wish you are correct @disco-bob, but I'm with @landl47. If he can't score runs against SA he'll have to go!

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on October 20, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    The bungler, the clown, the captain whose lack of tactics, especially the lack of ability to think on his feet, have been the laughing stock of the cricket world for the last five or so years (ever since he started being drafted in as a stand in ODI captain. With the bar being so low in captaincy standards, Australia look set to sped another 20 years in the dark recesses of the cricketing rankings - an average-skilled/average-ability team continues to be irrelevant on the world stage.

  • on October 20, 2012, 8:13 GMT

    No doubt about it.Ricky is a class above,a class of Sachin.

  • kickittome70 on October 20, 2012, 8:11 GMT

    No contest - Clarke all the way. Whenever I second guessed his calls on bowlers, field settings, whatever - he always came good. Bowling Huss against SL was right on the money. His declarations have been inspired. Punter was picked just because of the metrics added up, he was the right age, was a great batsman and had the support of influential members of the team. I thought certainly Warnie and later on - Katich would have provided Australia with great leadership. But as other entries in these comments also say - Ponting was often caught short when astute captaincy was required.

  • rahulcricket007 on October 20, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    IF ANY TEAM WANTS TO IMPROVE THEIR POINTS BY BIG MARGIN THEY SHOULD INVITE INDIA FOR A 4 OR 5 MATCH TEST SERIES .

  • disco_bob on October 20, 2012, 7:29 GMT

    If Ponting does as well against SA as India, then there is no reason at all that he cannot play through the b2b Ashes series. You show 'em Punter.

  • masoodali150 on October 20, 2012, 6:04 GMT

    I will still consider Ricky Ponting much better player than Clark. By the way best of luck Clark for the future but Clark can not be compared by Ricky because Ricky Ponting has different class to be mark and Clark has next to him.

  • bharatputra83 on October 20, 2012, 5:37 GMT

    Clarke is definitely better than Ponting. Ponting had a great team support full of top players like Warne, Hayden, Gilchrist, Hussey, Lee, McGrath, Symonds et all. Ponting was found short on occasions when astute captaincy was required. Clarke is doing a good job with the comparatively "lesser" resources at his disposal.

  • zenboomerang on October 20, 2012, 5:16 GMT

    Its going to be a bit tougher for Clarke over the next 15 mths - SA (on paper) have the best batting & bowling squads in Test cricket atm... Then India at home follow by a 10 match Ashes Test double series... At least we will be underdogs in all the series so can give it 100% & hopefully pull of a few big wins...

  • landl47 on October 20, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    Now coming up to 38, Ponting knows he might hit the wall at any time. Really, he shouldn't be in the side now, but although Aus has some outstanding young quick bowlers, the batting has yet to produce worthy successors to Ponting and Hussey. Nice to see him praise Clarke, but if anything he understates how well Clarke has done. When Ponting took over the captaincy he had one of the strongest teams ever, with McGrath, Hayden, Langer, Martyn and the alltime all-world pair of Warne and Gilchrist. Clarke had nothing like as strong a group and has produced excellent results. Ponting's memory also seems to play him false if he thinks he elevated his game when he took over as test captain. He didn't score a century in his first 9 tests as captain, a long stretch for him. Clarke scored 4 hundreds in his first 9 tests as skipper, including a triple hundred. Aus had better hope that Ponting has a last gasp left in him against SA, but don't count on it.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • landl47 on October 20, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    Now coming up to 38, Ponting knows he might hit the wall at any time. Really, he shouldn't be in the side now, but although Aus has some outstanding young quick bowlers, the batting has yet to produce worthy successors to Ponting and Hussey. Nice to see him praise Clarke, but if anything he understates how well Clarke has done. When Ponting took over the captaincy he had one of the strongest teams ever, with McGrath, Hayden, Langer, Martyn and the alltime all-world pair of Warne and Gilchrist. Clarke had nothing like as strong a group and has produced excellent results. Ponting's memory also seems to play him false if he thinks he elevated his game when he took over as test captain. He didn't score a century in his first 9 tests as captain, a long stretch for him. Clarke scored 4 hundreds in his first 9 tests as skipper, including a triple hundred. Aus had better hope that Ponting has a last gasp left in him against SA, but don't count on it.

  • zenboomerang on October 20, 2012, 5:16 GMT

    Its going to be a bit tougher for Clarke over the next 15 mths - SA (on paper) have the best batting & bowling squads in Test cricket atm... Then India at home follow by a 10 match Ashes Test double series... At least we will be underdogs in all the series so can give it 100% & hopefully pull of a few big wins...

  • bharatputra83 on October 20, 2012, 5:37 GMT

    Clarke is definitely better than Ponting. Ponting had a great team support full of top players like Warne, Hayden, Gilchrist, Hussey, Lee, McGrath, Symonds et all. Ponting was found short on occasions when astute captaincy was required. Clarke is doing a good job with the comparatively "lesser" resources at his disposal.

  • masoodali150 on October 20, 2012, 6:04 GMT

    I will still consider Ricky Ponting much better player than Clark. By the way best of luck Clark for the future but Clark can not be compared by Ricky because Ricky Ponting has different class to be mark and Clark has next to him.

  • disco_bob on October 20, 2012, 7:29 GMT

    If Ponting does as well against SA as India, then there is no reason at all that he cannot play through the b2b Ashes series. You show 'em Punter.

  • rahulcricket007 on October 20, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    IF ANY TEAM WANTS TO IMPROVE THEIR POINTS BY BIG MARGIN THEY SHOULD INVITE INDIA FOR A 4 OR 5 MATCH TEST SERIES .

  • kickittome70 on October 20, 2012, 8:11 GMT

    No contest - Clarke all the way. Whenever I second guessed his calls on bowlers, field settings, whatever - he always came good. Bowling Huss against SL was right on the money. His declarations have been inspired. Punter was picked just because of the metrics added up, he was the right age, was a great batsman and had the support of influential members of the team. I thought certainly Warnie and later on - Katich would have provided Australia with great leadership. But as other entries in these comments also say - Ponting was often caught short when astute captaincy was required.

  • on October 20, 2012, 8:13 GMT

    No doubt about it.Ricky is a class above,a class of Sachin.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on October 20, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    The bungler, the clown, the captain whose lack of tactics, especially the lack of ability to think on his feet, have been the laughing stock of the cricket world for the last five or so years (ever since he started being drafted in as a stand in ODI captain. With the bar being so low in captaincy standards, Australia look set to sped another 20 years in the dark recesses of the cricketing rankings - an average-skilled/average-ability team continues to be irrelevant on the world stage.

  • Beertjie on October 20, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    I wish you are correct @disco-bob, but I'm with @landl47. If he can't score runs against SA he'll have to go!