Australia news October 13, 2013

Ponting reveals Clarke doubts

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Ricky Ponting has revealed the doubts he harboured about Michael Clarke before his ascension to the Australian captaincy, saying his deputy did not contribute as much as desired and that for some time senior players "wondered if he'd lost a little of his sense of team".

In an extract from his forthcoming autobiography At The Close Of Play, Ponting frames his relationship with Clarke against his own decision to give up the captaincy following Australia's defeat to India in the 2011 World Cup quarter-final in Ahmedabad. He is frank in describing how Clarke took a back seat to proceedings as vice-captain, despite being asked numerous times to take on more responsibility by Ponting and the former coach Tim Nielsen.

"It wasn't that he was disruptive or treacherous, and publicly he said all the right things, but he had never been one to get too involved in planning sessions or debriefs at the end of a day's play, or to volunteer to take on any of the captain's workload," Ponting wrote in the extract published by News Ltd. "More than once, Tim Nielsen and I had encouraged him to take on more of a leadership role within the group, but when Pup was down on form or if he had a problem away from cricket, he'd go into his shell."

At the time of Australia's 2006-07 Ashes victory over England, Ponting said Clarke had emerged from a run of poor form to grow in maturity and presence, and had begun looking like a potential captaincy successor. But over the following two years Ponting described Clarke as moving "in a different world to the rest of us".

"It never worried me if a bloke didn't want a drink in the dressing room, but I did wonder about blokes who didn't see the value in sticking around for a chat and a laugh and a post-mortem on the day's play," Ponting wrote. "This was the time when we could revel in our success, pick up the blokes who were struggling, and acknowledge the guys who were at the peak of their powers.

"Pup hardly bought into this tradition for a couple of years and the team noticed. At times, he reminded me of a team-mate from earlier in my career, who'd be chirpy and bubbly if he was going well, but appear a bit grim if things weren't working for him. The best team-mates are the ones who can keep their moods in check for the sake of the group."

Tension over Clarke's contribution to the team bubbled over following the January 2009 Test win over South Africa at the SCG, during an infamous confrontation with Simon Katich. Ponting states that Katich's anger about Clarke's desire to get away from the dressing room after a victory summed up the feelings of more than one member of the team at the time.

"We wondered if he'd lost a little of his sense of team," Ponting wrote. "It was our first significant Test win in exactly a year, almost certainly Matt Hayden's last Test, yet Pup wanted to get away. I didn't actually witness what went on, but as I understand it he asked if we could do the anthem sooner rather than later, Mike Hussey said he'd have to wait, the point was pushed, Kato suggested Pup be patient, and when Pup continued to complain Kato grabbed him and again told him to be patient.

"Okay, it might have been a bit spicier than that, but that was the gist of it. Michael left immediately after the confrontation, while we just shrugged our shoulders and said, 'That's Pup'."

Following the incident, Clarke's standing within the team was gradually repaired, helped by a staunch performance during the 2009 Ashes series in England and his success in New Zealand in 2010 having flown home to put an end to his engagement with Lara Bingle. Ponting wrote that the pair grew closer again over this time.

"I wouldn't say we were tight after that, but we were better. His official reign as Australian captain started on a high, with ODI wins in Bangladesh and ODI and Test wins in Sri Lanka, and he quickly took his batting to a new level, to the point that it seemed he could almost score big hundreds at will.

"He was training hard when we were together and obviously doing a lot of extracurricular work on his fitness and his game as well, which was inspirational. He now seemed happy to take on the planning, media and administrative duties that he'd veered away from when he was vice-captain and the mood in the Aussie dressing room was positive. Perhaps I'd been wrong to be so concerned for so long."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | October 14, 2013, 14:59 GMT

    Why is all this nonsense coming out now just ahead of some big series in India and the Ashes? Despite being British, I feel a little sorry for Clarke at all this dirty linen suddenly being aired right before these big series and the test team is in quite a bit of disarray. The attitude of retired Aus. players is rather atrocious to say the least: great bowlers like Warne doing nothing but criticise current players instead of grooming new wrist-spinners; great batsmen like Hussey and now Ponting doing nothing but stirring the pot instead of coaching new test-standard batsmen.

  • POSTED BY SaadRocx on | October 13, 2013, 6:22 GMT

    Cmon you can't be serious? Look at the team Clarke has right now? He's doing the best he could for him team and sure is the lone man standing/performing and always let down by his team mates..Australia is extremely lucky to have Clarke right now..Live with it..Australian team are in a transition and worse possible team they have in over 20 years..Clarke is unlucky to captain a mediocre team like this..He's a great captain and is performing great for his team still managing to hold the team in top 4 spot..Still he best man Australia has despite of all the Back problems..Respect for this guy.!!!

  • POSTED BY Cricket4World on | October 13, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    This just reiterates the feeling of other former players that Clarke has never really been a team man. A captain should inspire and encourage the whole of his team, not go into his shell when he doesn't perform well. We all knew that some of the old school legends didn't like his attitude and people skills. Unfortunately for Australia there was not a whole lot of captaincy options when Ricky stood down unlike the time when he was awarded the role himself (Warney and Gilly).

  • POSTED BY on | October 19, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    Ughh I disagree with that R_U_For_Real_Nick. Your choice of words are over the top. Ponting concludes the excerpt by saying that Clarke matured into a great leader and that Ponting perhaps misjudged him all along. How is that airing bad laundry?

    As for Warne, Warne is just super passionate and frustrated with CA right now like most Australians are. He played in a side that was consistently ranked no.1 for 15 years. Upon he, McGrath, Langer and Hayden retiring - we turned to shit. Very frustrating for an ex player

  • POSTED BY CherryWood_Champion on | October 17, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    Exactly just what the doctor ordered ... and that too right when the players are beginning to gel as a team ... should be out of his mind to reveal it now at this stage.

  • POSTED BY tarun1.raman on | October 15, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    What Mussey and Ponting are doing right now are undermining whatever handwork's been done by them to orchestrate this undisciplined Australian team in at least standing in a straight line. While both were contrasting in styles, they at least made sure their respect was not to be taken granted for. Washing the dirty linen after retiring(or being forced to retire by CA), is not the right thing to do before marquee series against India and England. What they need is some hard, basic level stuff right from scratch to try and come somewhere close to a selector.What Australia have is a pool of talent, what they don't have is a selection criteria as Hodge, Dussey, Bailey are not finding themselves a spot in the playing XI, whereas they are exceptionally talented and experienced.

  • POSTED BY on | October 15, 2013, 5:40 GMT

    Ponting is one of the greatest batsmen and captains of his generation and his words do carry some worth. Clarke always wants to steal the show and we all know how many players have been mishandled because of him. Hussey, Watson, Katich , Johnson etc. He was in such a great form and hence there was less scrutiny and now when his form fades away, he ll be under pressure. He has to understand he cant do everything all the time, alone.

  • POSTED BY Selassie-I on | October 14, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    Funny thing is that everyone seems to praise clarke for his aggressive and innovative field placements, they seem of little help when he doesn't have the team on side. I'll take man management any day over fancy fields from a skipper.

    And yes, Punter did have an inifnatley superior team at his disposal, but he always had the commitment of the side, something it would appear that Clarke doesn't.

  • POSTED BY cricket-india on | October 14, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    sums up pretty much everything that has been feared is wrong with Clarke; the guy has managed to antagonize some of the best players (symonds, katich, hussy, watson etc) and it's a grave mistake on CA's part to have made him captain just on the basis of batting performances. someone like George bailey would have been a far better choice to be groomed from the beginning and given the responsibilities to lead. no, don't tell me bailey is only a short-form player; look at this attitude and spirit and tell me it's better than Clarke.

  • POSTED BY on | October 14, 2013, 12:53 GMT

    I can't see how Ponting's personal feelings are of any help to the current Australian cricket team. Discretion would have been the better part of valour if Ponting had left his comments when Clarke had finished with the captaincy or when making the case for Clarke's departure as captain. I am sure this has already damaged the team, certainly wounded Clarke.

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | October 14, 2013, 14:59 GMT

    Why is all this nonsense coming out now just ahead of some big series in India and the Ashes? Despite being British, I feel a little sorry for Clarke at all this dirty linen suddenly being aired right before these big series and the test team is in quite a bit of disarray. The attitude of retired Aus. players is rather atrocious to say the least: great bowlers like Warne doing nothing but criticise current players instead of grooming new wrist-spinners; great batsmen like Hussey and now Ponting doing nothing but stirring the pot instead of coaching new test-standard batsmen.

  • POSTED BY SaadRocx on | October 13, 2013, 6:22 GMT

    Cmon you can't be serious? Look at the team Clarke has right now? He's doing the best he could for him team and sure is the lone man standing/performing and always let down by his team mates..Australia is extremely lucky to have Clarke right now..Live with it..Australian team are in a transition and worse possible team they have in over 20 years..Clarke is unlucky to captain a mediocre team like this..He's a great captain and is performing great for his team still managing to hold the team in top 4 spot..Still he best man Australia has despite of all the Back problems..Respect for this guy.!!!

  • POSTED BY Cricket4World on | October 13, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    This just reiterates the feeling of other former players that Clarke has never really been a team man. A captain should inspire and encourage the whole of his team, not go into his shell when he doesn't perform well. We all knew that some of the old school legends didn't like his attitude and people skills. Unfortunately for Australia there was not a whole lot of captaincy options when Ricky stood down unlike the time when he was awarded the role himself (Warney and Gilly).

  • POSTED BY on | October 19, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    Ughh I disagree with that R_U_For_Real_Nick. Your choice of words are over the top. Ponting concludes the excerpt by saying that Clarke matured into a great leader and that Ponting perhaps misjudged him all along. How is that airing bad laundry?

    As for Warne, Warne is just super passionate and frustrated with CA right now like most Australians are. He played in a side that was consistently ranked no.1 for 15 years. Upon he, McGrath, Langer and Hayden retiring - we turned to shit. Very frustrating for an ex player

  • POSTED BY CherryWood_Champion on | October 17, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    Exactly just what the doctor ordered ... and that too right when the players are beginning to gel as a team ... should be out of his mind to reveal it now at this stage.

  • POSTED BY tarun1.raman on | October 15, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    What Mussey and Ponting are doing right now are undermining whatever handwork's been done by them to orchestrate this undisciplined Australian team in at least standing in a straight line. While both were contrasting in styles, they at least made sure their respect was not to be taken granted for. Washing the dirty linen after retiring(or being forced to retire by CA), is not the right thing to do before marquee series against India and England. What they need is some hard, basic level stuff right from scratch to try and come somewhere close to a selector.What Australia have is a pool of talent, what they don't have is a selection criteria as Hodge, Dussey, Bailey are not finding themselves a spot in the playing XI, whereas they are exceptionally talented and experienced.

  • POSTED BY on | October 15, 2013, 5:40 GMT

    Ponting is one of the greatest batsmen and captains of his generation and his words do carry some worth. Clarke always wants to steal the show and we all know how many players have been mishandled because of him. Hussey, Watson, Katich , Johnson etc. He was in such a great form and hence there was less scrutiny and now when his form fades away, he ll be under pressure. He has to understand he cant do everything all the time, alone.

  • POSTED BY Selassie-I on | October 14, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    Funny thing is that everyone seems to praise clarke for his aggressive and innovative field placements, they seem of little help when he doesn't have the team on side. I'll take man management any day over fancy fields from a skipper.

    And yes, Punter did have an inifnatley superior team at his disposal, but he always had the commitment of the side, something it would appear that Clarke doesn't.

  • POSTED BY cricket-india on | October 14, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    sums up pretty much everything that has been feared is wrong with Clarke; the guy has managed to antagonize some of the best players (symonds, katich, hussy, watson etc) and it's a grave mistake on CA's part to have made him captain just on the basis of batting performances. someone like George bailey would have been a far better choice to be groomed from the beginning and given the responsibilities to lead. no, don't tell me bailey is only a short-form player; look at this attitude and spirit and tell me it's better than Clarke.

  • POSTED BY on | October 14, 2013, 12:53 GMT

    I can't see how Ponting's personal feelings are of any help to the current Australian cricket team. Discretion would have been the better part of valour if Ponting had left his comments when Clarke had finished with the captaincy or when making the case for Clarke's departure as captain. I am sure this has already damaged the team, certainly wounded Clarke.

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | October 14, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    It does seem that they need to pick some young players and then back them. If you don't have the talent then be pragmatic and adapt your playing style. Some teams know how to win and some have forgotten how to.Stop the bleeding,stop looking for once in lifetime talents and work forwards together.Boring and pragmatic but better than losing all the time.

  • POSTED BY on | October 14, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    As a Pom I can be objective but feel it a bit rich Ponting having a go at Clarke's captaincy; he lost the Ashes twice in England and in 2005 without Warne's cricketing brain would have been even worse.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | October 14, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    It's all building up to look like an Ashes nightmare for Michael Clarke. First Hussey's withering comments and now Ponting. When Clarke does finally go, which could well be in just a few months' time if the Ashes go the way they look like they will (with England winning in Aus again), just who will take over? Bailey? Hughes? Brice Mcgain? Crocodile Dundee? There ain't much to choose from to put it lightly.

  • POSTED BY Edwards_Anderson on | October 14, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    Ponting has made some very intelligent comments. There is no doubt there is something wrong with our culture when no young batsman can get a footing in the team. Take the example of Khawaja, gets top score at Lords, gets a howler in Manchester and then dropped for Oval. How will our best young batsman develop into champions if they are not given the chances to establish themselves. I agree with the likes of Hayden, Ponting, Healy that we need to give our best young batsman the chance to find their feat otherwise we willl never improve our batting.

  • POSTED BY Guduji71 on | October 14, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    How many players are we going to waste due to Mr Clark. Simon Katich is out of the team due to who? The problem with Shane Watson has hurt the spirit of the team. I think Clarke needs to be trained for People Management skills, otherwise, team will keep suffering.

  • POSTED BY on | October 14, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    Bailey seems to be a FAR BETTER Captain than Clarke. The former could also be a unifying force getting 100% from everyone; while the latter could be a disruptive and distrusting influence pulling every one else down by a notch.

    Please allow Clarke to nurse his back injury for the next few years, for the sake of Australian Cricket. If the Australian Cricket is well & healthy, so will the World cricket be!

  • POSTED BY Kashif.naqvi on | October 14, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    Dear All, I think currently Clarke is the only player in Australian team who has shown the responsility many times and I think encouraging the team and backing the players is should not be the only reason of captaincy, the captain should be a good bowler or batsman too and Clarke is the best batsmen in current Australian line-up. He should be the part of each and every format and match of Australian cricket but unfortunately he withdrawn from current ODI series in India. For the 2nd ODI Aus should replace Voges and Doherty with CoulterNile and Henriques.

  • POSTED BY Patchmaster on | October 14, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    @ sray23.........er.........I'm not sure how you conclude that 'all cricket nations are dependent on India for revenues'. I'd say England were doing just fine on their own. Cricket is rising in popularity in England, the Ashes matches were sell outs (which as far as I know, didn't feature an Indian team) and I remember that last time England played India in a a test series, India lost. The fact is that India aren't that good at test cricket any more, so they concentrate on T20 slap and tickle, and boring ODI's on flat tracks.

  • POSTED BY Sunil_Batra on | October 14, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    After reading Ponting's comments i am now sure that Clarke does not have the team spirit that other past greats had, he is lucky he has boof as the coach now because boof can teach him these qualities. With boof in charge i do believe that Clarke as captain can take us back to number 1 but we must show faith in our young batsman(i.e Warner, Khawaja, Smith)

  • POSTED BY sarwan86 on | October 14, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    I do not get Y the old and some of the greatest Australian players are criticizing him. They should rather support him. This guys is the charm of Australian team, A Stylish batsman and one of the best fielder..... Ponting himself took over captaincy when the hard work was done by Steve W. If we give players like Gilchrist, hayden, Martyn, Mcgrath, Bevan,warne, Langer, and HUSSEY etc to Clarky. I do not think any team can beat them easily.

  • POSTED BY robheinen on | October 14, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    Form a numerological point of view, this is all pefectly understandable. A course of life ruled by the 7. Outer and inner self represented by 4 & 9 respectively, culminating in an intergrated self of 4. Add to this a karmic 7 and it all shows aloofness, chaliceness, shying away when structures and routines change and the there's always the holding on/letting go balance; the controlling will vs. the overseeing leader. It isn't easy. Michael Clarke needs time on his own; time away from the group. This aspect is very hard to understand for the group; any group. The members of the group grow suspicious. Michael needs to overcome this aspect. Indeed, not necessarily by having a beer, if that's his choice. But by having a laugh. Or at least by speaking out, although this might not be sufficient.

  • POSTED BY Charlie101 on | October 14, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Very interesteing and we all wondered why Simon Katich was too "old " when the cupboard looked pretty bare in terms of young talent coming thru . A very ordinary captain would have mended his relationship to have his best players on the field but it seems that Clarke with his position of a selector stuck the knife in .

  • POSTED BY on | October 14, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    The ousting of Katich was disgusting. He should never had been dropped.

  • POSTED BY Ibrarhunzai on | October 14, 2013, 5:32 GMT

    Aussie are not lacking in fast bowling department, its a qualtiy spinner what they need.

  • POSTED BY Little_Aussie_Battler on | October 14, 2013, 4:32 GMT

    Clarke has been a disapointing leader from the get-go and part of me hopes he leaves the game but he seems to have CA over a barrel because he is the star batsman.

    We are now in a situation like the Windies were with Lara.

    For mine, if Australia performs badly at home against England then he should be replaced as captain. We have to at least finish top 4 in test match rankings to qualify for the test match championship deciders. The current performances are unacceptable.

  • POSTED BY class9ryan on | October 14, 2013, 4:19 GMT

    Unless the team is together, Australia can never move forward. I think lack of good team understanding, respect for each other and also shield pitches hurting Australia now. May God give them the power to lift themselves above from all this nuisance.

  • POSTED BY kensohatter on | October 14, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    I used to look at the Australian cricket side and be in awe of every member of the squad. They were inspirational fo many reasons. The test side was the pinnacle of sport with every spot fought hard for and based not only on talent but what you could contribute to the team. That culture is gone and its hard to know where it started. You cant blame Clarke because someone should have had words with him/ dropped him if he didnt put the team first. All I see in the Australian cricket team is similiar to many workplaces filled with Gen Y issues of self entitlement. There is not a single leader amongst them. Australia needs to get a time machine... clone a 23yr old version of Allan Border and get him to right the ship!

  • POSTED BY sray23 on | October 14, 2013, 3:24 GMT

    Maybe when the Test team had Langer, Hayden, Ponting, Warne, etc Clarke did not feel the need to micromanage things too much. But now when the team is struggling, he is taking responsibility and doing the hard yards. Anyway, Aust cricket has got more problems than Clarke's moods. National interest in the sport is quite low, cricket grounds are fast being replaced by shopping malls and the AFL & NRL are aggressively taking up athletic talent, esp. aboriginal athletes. It's a massive concern that needs to be addressed immediately. On top of that, like all other cricket nations, CA is heavily dependent on India for revenues. It is unsustainable.

  • POSTED BY cricket_ahan on | October 14, 2013, 1:41 GMT

    Isn't it interesting how so many of these comments are surfacing when people are releasing their autobiographies? Let's face it, things don't appear to be rosy in the Australian camp right now, but these comments (or possibly what the press is chosing to publish), can only be further damaging to the team's current state. Leave aside the technical problems of Australia's batting, what is clearly evident is a lack of cohesion as a team, and some glaring cracks in terms of governance. I'm of the opinion that ultimately Sutherland is the one to blame for this - he needs to step up and take responsibility or step down (or be kicked out).

  • POSTED BY featurewriter on | October 13, 2013, 23:37 GMT

    There's now a lot of similar stories coming about from very respected Australian cricketers about Michael Clarke. Ponting, Hussey, Hayden, Katich and Watson have all shared similar stories about Clarke. I think Clarke is an incredibly gifted batsman, but that doesn't always equate to being a good team player or a good leader. Clarke seems to have certain inadequacies in those departments. It also makes you wonder now about the real reason for the cultural shift since the retirement of our core group of very senior players.

  • POSTED BY on | October 13, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    Ponting was a great captain as long as he had Hayden and Langer, McGrath and Warne backed up by Gillespie and Lee. But neither he nor Clarke should be judged too harshly as Australia are victims of their own success. When things go well, everything is rosy in the garden and the mildew creeping in not seen. For a long time, Australia could replace almost anyone and the replacement was an instant success with Michael Hussey the last example. But once the Great Four had gone, the cracks became obvious. There was no new McGrath, no new Warne, no new Hayden, no new Langer but every new player tried was expected by the Australian public to be. Some boots are too big to be worn comfortably and right now the boots the Aussie cricketers are supposed to wear are many sizes too big which is why Australia are wallowing. Let Warner be Warner and not Hayden! Let Smith be Smith and not Hussey! Let Pattinson be Pattinson and not McGrath! Let Lyon be Lyon and not Warne! Only then can the recovery begin

  • POSTED BY cnksnk on | October 13, 2013, 17:51 GMT

    Some times one wonders if the aussie's need for symbolism takes things too far. Baggy green, team song, bear at the end of the day seem to be creating more trouble than good. Not wanting to spend an evening with team mates over a glass of bitter may not be evey ones idea of fun. Some folks want to get away from it all.Remember Dhoni was not reachable when VVS tried to reach him before his retirement. There are different types of leaders 1) cereberal is Mike Brearely. 2) thos who lead with their talent , from the front ie Ian Botham, Kapil Dev, Imran etc. 3) those who lead i tough times ie Steve Waugh, Allan Border 4) inspirational like Dhoni. Then there are players like Tendulkar who are just not leaders inspite of their talent and genius. Clark comes across as a normal human who does not want to be a stereo type. But at the same time he seems as vindictive from the way he has handles Katich and Watson. Very good batsman but average captain , however best available now.

  • POSTED BY DaveT on | October 13, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    If you're a youngish shortish guy, not a fast bowler with a good excuse, I'd think a bad back would be worrying.

  • POSTED BY Ragav999 on | October 13, 2013, 17:21 GMT

    Firstly, I confess that I am a huge fan of Ricky Ponting. But most of the people commenting here seem to have either missed or ignored the last line of the article that says "Perhaps I'd been wrong to be so concerned for so long." It only means that there was ambiguity in terms of communication or anything else between Clarke and the rest of the team. I think we should remember the various occasions when Clarke told the press that he would want to be playing under Ricky Ponting till the day he retires (even during/after the 2009 Ashes).

    Even the line "It wasn't that he was disruptive or treacherous," seems to be conveniently ignored by many. The only inference that one can make without any assumption is that Clarke was not a team man when he was going through a bad patch. It implies that he was a team man when he was going well with the bat. Realistically, how many % of the people would be willing to get involved in others' problems when you are having a lean trot with the bat?

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | October 13, 2013, 15:31 GMT

    I am a big fan of the Punter but i wonder what wrong, sin or crime has Pup committed. Is it wrong to have lifestyle of our own ? Tell me who in this world doesn't ?Are tatoos a problem ? Or the flashy sports-cars ? Pup has been doing a very decent job since taking over as the captain. I think the former Legends must be measured in their criticisms towards some-one who have been their mates no-so-long-so. Give him a break !!

  • POSTED BY Jaffa79 on | October 13, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    There are so many problems within the Aussie camp! I am surprised there have no been more big blow out moments as it clear they all hate each other. Australians of old played for their country with pride. This current mob are all selfish, childish and self centred. The only thing that matters is money. This attitude has transferred to their shambolic on field performances.

  • POSTED BY SyedAreYouDumb on | October 13, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    I think Clarke is being unnecessarily criticized. He is a class player and everyone has people they like and people they don't get on well with. He also seems to be a nice guy but like I have said before he has some people he doesn't get on well with. George Bailey I reckon will not have any problem with his teammates. Clarke I feel is the only person in the Aussie test team that can actually captain...

  • POSTED BY macadamnut on | October 13, 2013, 13:13 GMT

    "Look at me! I'm still relevant!" - R. Ponting

  • POSTED BY roygbiv on | October 13, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    It does seem that Clarke was too concerned about only himself and not the team as a rank and file member and vice-captain. Not wanting to be in the dressing room after a match is unthinkable to me, because that's what I enjoyed most about playing cricket. But I also always had teammates that wanted to leave quick to go do other things and that was their prerogative.

    Since he became captain, I think he's done a very good job. As Ponting concluded, he's taken up all the duties while scoring heavily and trains as hard as anyone. When it comes to setting an example, what more can you ask of someone? The reason his tactics are praised is because he produces an exciting brand of cricket. And if people notice, Australia's bowling and fielding performances haven't been bad, it's been the batting. And I don't think there is much a captain can do to get batsmen scoring runs, that's a rather individual part of the game.

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | October 13, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    Of course, it's not all Clarke's fault: none of the critics are saying it is! What they are saying is what @xtrafalgarx on (October 13, 2013, 7:58 GMT) says: look at Brearley from '81. But I doubt if Bailey could be a Brearley, since Brearley was in-and-out with England since '64. Partly agree @jimbond on (October 13, 2013, 1:35 GMT), but Bailey needs to be worthy to play as a batsman first. Spot on @Dylan Young on (October 13, 2013, 6:06 GMT)! The Aussie way is to play someone who has cemented his place. If Clarke goes Siddle would be best atm until someone else can be found.

  • POSTED BY vatsap on | October 13, 2013, 11:50 GMT

    This is such a disappointing reaction from Ricky Ponting. He could have easily taken Clarke aside and discussed. Time was when RP was roasted by the Aussie media for his tactics in India (over rate), lost 2 Ashes on the trot, not to talk about his appalling behavior towards umpire and players and not one former Aussie Captain had a word about him in public. Clarke is his own man and I see slices of Kim Hughes era all over, although Clarke is possibly more mentally stronger and there is no dominating Windies to crush the Aussies.

    A real sad day for Aussie cricket.

  • POSTED BY OneEyedAussie on | October 13, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    The ugly truth is that the team started to go south under Ponting - with the slide truly beginning in Cardiff '09 and reaching its zenith during the '10/11 Ashes. Under Clarke the team turned around briefly but I think issues created by Clarke's personality began to break apart the team (i.e. during the West Indies tour as Ponting and Hussey both say). Most of us who are some way into our adult lives have worked for or with somebody like Clarke. They are brooders with ambiguous communication and you never know where you stand with them. It's not all Clarke's fault however - the situation was exacerbated by his role as a selector and Arthur's cultural mismatch.

  • POSTED BY ac_Indian on | October 13, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    I genuinely think that this practice of releasing autobiographies by recently retired players is not a good idea. It sure does make sense from marketing point of view to cash upon the memories which are still fresh, but more often than not they do some damage to the current dressing room. There are inevitably doubts, disagreements, some fights etc in dressing room, but bringing them out in public puts unnecessary pressure on current set of players. It somehow seems to divide fans as well.

  • POSTED BY on | October 13, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    Clarke is the one who ruined Symonds, Katich and many others career. He is not at all a team player and is the biggest reason for Australian cricket downfall !

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | October 13, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    Cook is a uniter. Clarke is a divider. What is the use of great tactician when team not playing well under you for reasons... Continuing with clarke will be disaster for australia. What surprise me when people know where is the source of problem they take long time to act. Mainly because blame goes to aussie cricket board officials who has vested interest in clarke being captain.

  • POSTED BY crockit on | October 13, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    I think the likes of Ponting and Hussey are straightforward guys and if they hint that their are issues with Clarke's man management then you can say that there are almost certainly issues. I guy can be great with bat and tactics but still have a downside that affects the team. Either you need another skipper or to hope that he improves and that the likes of Boof can help him along on that side. Also got to say that he must not be scapegoat - selections have been all over the place for a few years and some of the batters are ill-disciplined (which compounds the fact that they are not very good).

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | October 13, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    We keep hearing what an innovative tactician Clarke is.Yet somehow he keeps losing tests hand over fist.What Aus need at the moment is a captain like Hussein who stopped the bleeding and set the groundwork for Vaughan to take over.This myth of the Australian way is damaging to Aus cricket as at present you can't enforce it. The moral high ground is all well and good but you keep losing.It shows in the inability to take the crucial moment.You always feel Aus are only a moment away from collapsing in a heap.

  • POSTED BY on | October 13, 2013, 9:32 GMT

    for god's sake can we end the clarke bashing? it's become a favourite sport in australia. but is there anyone else who's done more for Australian cricket over the past three years than michael clarke? about time people started helping out, not trying to drag him down.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | October 13, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    Unlike batting and bowling, you can't really measure good captaincy. Even if you are winning 5-0 each time! Viv Richards and Steve Waugh had bowlers who would get you 20 wickets, Clarke does not! A captain cannot bowl for his bowlers. Its down to the individual.

  • POSTED BY on | October 13, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    Trust Punter to tell it like it is! He didn't even spare mighty Warney ..remember? I, for one, am not really surprised to be honest. Pup belongs to that breed of leaders who are brilliant from a tactical/strategical point of view but their 'personnel-management skills' leave a lot to be desired. And history attests to the fact that personnel management skills play a far more important role in making one a success as a captain than mere tactical nouse.

  • POSTED BY kingkarthik on | October 13, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    When one person say that Clarke is an issue, we can dismiss it as being a personal issue. When Katich was dropped he hinted that Clarke had a major role to play in it. But it was dismissed as being a claim based on personal motivations. When Watson was sent home for not doing his "homework" it was Clarke's hand all over the issue and then Watson also made it clear that Clarke had a role. Then Hussey disclosed that Clarke is not all that he is sent to be. Now Ponting. Think about it. Clarke is to be blamed for the present predicament. He is easily threatened by any player in form. He is paranoid.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | October 13, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    this will sell heaps of books but doesn't help Australian cricket

  • POSTED BY Kapstif on | October 13, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    Shane Warne spends the whole Ashes complaining about Cook's field placings and says Clarke is the best captain in the world. Clarke is a good tactician but as pointed out by Hussey, Ponting and Flower captaincy is so much more than this. Cook's big job when he took over was to unite a broken dressing room, which he did, and look at his results compared to Clarke.

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | October 13, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    @SaadRocx,Just because someone scores runs doesn't make him a good leader. Above all, a good captain should be able to bring out that 10% extra out of every player. If you're able to do that as a captain, you're playing with 12 men on the field and the only way you can do that is to back, nurture, and support other players.

    To me, i think Clarke actually sometimes feels happy just to show up, score a big hundred, then goe home to his rockstar life, thinking he has done enough. This then looks to the media that Clarke is some sort of "one man army" and everyone else isn't good enough, but if he's not putting time towards his own men, we are better of without him because a good captain can bring out the best in his players.

    Brearly couldn't bat, bowl or field but everytime he captained the team, they performed well.

  • POSTED BY Behind_the_bowlers_arm on | October 13, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    Fascinating to hear what goes on behind the dressing room door and shows even more how being a leader is a lot more than tossing a coin and changing the bowlers. The key thing is the point Ponting mentions about players whose mood and help for teammates is dependent on their own form. I think Clarke's back means that his Test career may well be limited to another year or two so the planning for the next captain (with Pontings words in mind) should have started. To be honest there isn't a stand out obvious candidate. If anyone I think Steve Smith may be one who is being groomed in that direction.

  • POSTED BY cardshark08 on | October 13, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    Also, the fact that the South African tour spelled the end of Lee, Hayden and Symonds' careers plays on people's minds in different ways. To Ponting and the team, clearly it was worthy of celebration. Maybe not so much to a guy like Clarke.

  • POSTED BY cardshark08 on | October 13, 2013, 7:26 GMT

    Team sports force people to very closely share the same professional environment. Not everyone has the personality to fit with team cultures. Clarke deserves some sympathy - Ponting talks about Sydney 2009 as the first significant win in a year, even though they had three series wins and a loss overseas to India, so nothing too bad compared to the trough they have had recently. Clarke had pulled his weight for the team with his century in the first innings. Also, Australia LOST the series. To some people, that fact would put a damper on the match win, and there wouldn't be much worthy of celebration.

    It's not about "trust" or "being genuine," it's about personality and values. Clarke separates his personal life from his professional life. No, he is not "Mr Cricket" Hussey who adores the game and lives and breathes on it. That isn't for everyone. There is too little empathy for Clarke, in my opinion. Australian cricket is not an easy setup to be a part of and he's doing a good job.

  • POSTED BY Coolbanker1234 on | October 13, 2013, 7:26 GMT

    Come on guys, let's give pup a bit of breathing space. I can count the number of tests we would have lost if not him being the saviour with the bat. We have to understand that society has moved on and the beer guzzling culture is no longer accepted in the Australian team. Pup is his own man, and he has done his best even with a serious back problem. I don't think we can accuse him of not being hungry enough to win back the ashes. He must be hurting as much as we are to keep losing to England. Let him have a crack at them this summer and stop this negative comments. Good luck Pup

  • POSTED BY winner2008 on | October 13, 2013, 7:11 GMT

    Yeah, agree ,Clarke is a different character... but don't count Ponting's comments as he is actually trying to kick him(in a different way) when clarke is at his lowest position in his leadership. Its well aware that ponting was very frustrated with clarke when he retired due to bad form. Look at ganguly and Dravid..did anyone see what did they do to Dhoni when he was at his worst? They support him in every sense....Dont kick him when he is down..instead give him some tips Mr.most successful captain(with the help of many Legends).. Anyway a nice trick to sell his autobiography

  • POSTED BY sermaraj on | October 13, 2013, 7:00 GMT

    Is there any need for this revolt when aus are in big trouble already?????

  • POSTED BY Ms.Cricket on | October 13, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    Add to the list of great Aus players not happy with Clarke - Symonds, Katich, Michael Hussey, Shane Watson, Ponting...

  • POSTED BY GeoffreysMother on | October 13, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    This piles a bit more pressure on Clarke to step up as a team leader; though such things tend to be used to undermine a leader: perhaps that is the intention? Seems like the old guard hold him responsible for the erosion of that 'Aussie' spirit and the appointment of Boof and return of Haddin was to remind the others of what it was about. It is really hard to see where Australia go if Clarke retires (and he surely will if Australia lose another Ashes series). Surely Rogers and Haddin are too old, Watson too unreliable, the bowlers (apart from Siddle) too injury prone and none of the other batsmen secure enough in their places to be captain. Bailey looks to have the leadership ability; but they don't seem to trust his long form technique, and Cowan has been discarded. I imagine they hope Smith has a stellar series - though his onfield presence seems more 'Milky Bar Kid' than 'Crocodile Dundee

  • POSTED BY on | October 13, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    In an ideal world Clarke wouldn't be the captain - but I bet none of you can name 1 player in the Australian team who has cemented his spot besides Clarke. You cannot captain unless you are a permanent fixture in the team. I know - Clarke misses some ODI's, but that position is easily filled by Goerge Bailey. I'm talking about Tests.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | October 13, 2013, 5:30 GMT

    Well, that evens things up nicely. Former England captain trashes Pietersen for not being a team player, former Australian captain trashes Clarke for the same thing.

    The Ashes starts with the teams all square on the internal undermining score.

  • POSTED BY it_happened_last_in_2001. on | October 13, 2013, 5:04 GMT

    I can remember quite clearly Ponting's reaction to being run out by Flintoff at the Oval in 2009 was that he wanted to try to make amends and continue playing until the return tour of England in 2013. On reflection he should probably have retired in '09. I don't see Clarke having the same ambition & desire to succeed. I can honestly see a similar defeat like the one in the English summer coming between November and January, and Clarke's "degenerative back condition" seeing him retire from all forms of international cricket. Even Jim Maxwell has already hinted as much. Not sure where that would leave Lehmann & the Australian team, but the world test championships in 2017 might be a long way off for them.

  • POSTED BY DaisonGarvasis on | October 13, 2013, 5:03 GMT

    Mike Hussey said something similar, Ponting said it now, Watson has problem with Clarke and so has a few others in AUS Team. And to confirm what Ponting said "when things work, he is very expressive and when things doesnt he goes in to a shell", after a series of losses "suddenly" Clarke's back problem "re-appeared" and he is not sure when he is gonna be able to play. Clarke looks like someone who was dropped in by the selectors as the Captain of the Team rather than with everybody in the team agreeing with it. If thats the case, AUS team is not gonna come back up anytime soon unless the Clarke issue is resoved. But then, who will be the replacement captain?

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | October 13, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    Watson was the best choice as captain and now as he has stepped down from the captaincy , george bailey should ne made the captain ....

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | October 13, 2013, 4:25 GMT

    I'd trust Ricky Ponting over Clarke any day. I think Ricky is a lot nicer and genuine character than he let the world know. Reading many biography's, especially Gilly's, he is an ultimate team man and player.

    One thing for sure about Clarke, you can tell he lives on a different planet to everyone else in the team. He is always shooting ads, promoting products or functions. He is married to a model and didn't invite ONE SINGLE team member to his wedding. That's not to say he is a bad man, but he may not be the best leader for us.

  • POSTED BY on | October 13, 2013, 4:05 GMT

    Great! Another Autobiography I'll have to buy and read. In the midst of reading Mike Hussey's atm.

  • POSTED BY spongebat_squarestumps on | October 13, 2013, 3:55 GMT

    Interesting that Clarke's failings in moulding a new team isn't helped by some current (senior) players who really should know better. Also, not much chop given by Punter given to Pup's back injury woes which have affected the teambuilding side of his captaincy. Add to that Pup's painful stint as selector which further undermined his efforts to be seen as "one of the boys". I guess we will have to wait for Clarke's own autobiography eventually to find out the alternative side to every story...

  • POSTED BY on | October 13, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    Very interesting article from Ricky Ponting - Well worth reading.

  • POSTED BY Gilly5 on | October 13, 2013, 3:38 GMT

    Great article by the Punter, open, honest and most of all fair.

  • POSTED BY on | October 13, 2013, 3:14 GMT

    Sums up basically what a lot of people thinks of Clarke & the legacy he may leave. Hussey can thank his stars he was scoring runs & chose his retirement time. It was interesting to note last year he did not announce his retirement till it was a bombshell & not a public farewell season. I suppose even Clarke knew it would look bad if both Katich & Hussey were dumped, whilst scoring runs, when he became captain. It puts a different light on Watson, although he is an under-achiever. But as captain, it is notable Clarke can't contain Warner. Maybe Warner has a katich like punch on him.

  • POSTED BY MaheshExotics on | October 13, 2013, 2:21 GMT

    Ricky Ponting is simply great player, captain and motivator.

  • POSTED BY on | October 13, 2013, 2:19 GMT

    Perhaps Punter is not all that wrong about Pup, I think a lot of fans/journos do consider Pup to be somewhat less approachable/distant than Aussie captains of the past. Well Steve Waugh was famously introvert and he was a very good and successful captain. However he had a very good bunch of players, first XI and reserve. Maybe when you are a team in transition you require someone like a Mark Taylor then a Michael Clarke

  • POSTED BY on | October 13, 2013, 2:02 GMT

    Cricinfo continues it's veer towards tabloidism. Ponting's overall feeling is one of confidence in Clarke, and in all fairness, if Ponting were to captain this current side, they would probably have yet to win a test. Pup is twice the captain Punter ever was.

  • POSTED BY Nerk on | October 13, 2013, 1:59 GMT

    Clarke seems to be one of those chaps who just bends people the wrong way. He has had problems with NSW team mates and now Australian team mates. Many of the selection problems, particularly when it came to India, could be put down to the selectors picking a team for Clarke, rather than the best XI. However, Clarke has done his best in difficult times. He has been given the toughest captaining assignment in Australian cricket since AB took the job, and he has not done badly at all. This summer will be the test, and if he can get the Ashes back his legacy will be assured. If not, then questions should be asked as to whether he is the right man for the job.

  • POSTED BY jimbond on | October 13, 2013, 1:35 GMT

    In the light of these statements, it seems a foolish decision to push Clarke to captaincy. In doing so, they have created rifts in the team, led to serious contenders like Hussey and Katich moving out of the team, and also ended up putting a lot of pressure on one of their better batsmen- Clarke. Have the Aussies also gone with the sub-continental logic that the best player should be the captain of the team? Still not too late to undo the damage. Get someone like Bailey as captain, so that the team can improve and Clarke can focus only on his batting.

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | October 13, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    Now the real truth comes out, Clarke has been the real bad boy all along while others like Watson have been victimised by the media.

  • POSTED BY BnH1985Fan on | October 13, 2013, 1:27 GMT

    And don't forget -- Clark is responsible to some (perhaps large) extent to Simon Katich departure .. finally some light on what many of us have wondered about Michael Clark; a great player but not necessarily a great leader

  • POSTED BY BnH1985Fan on | October 13, 2013, 1:27 GMT

    And don't forget -- Clark is responsible to some (perhaps large) extent to Simon Katich departure .. finally some light on what many of us have wondered about Michael Clark; a great player but not necessarily a great leader

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | October 13, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    Now the real truth comes out, Clarke has been the real bad boy all along while others like Watson have been victimised by the media.

  • POSTED BY jimbond on | October 13, 2013, 1:35 GMT

    In the light of these statements, it seems a foolish decision to push Clarke to captaincy. In doing so, they have created rifts in the team, led to serious contenders like Hussey and Katich moving out of the team, and also ended up putting a lot of pressure on one of their better batsmen- Clarke. Have the Aussies also gone with the sub-continental logic that the best player should be the captain of the team? Still not too late to undo the damage. Get someone like Bailey as captain, so that the team can improve and Clarke can focus only on his batting.

  • POSTED BY Nerk on | October 13, 2013, 1:59 GMT

    Clarke seems to be one of those chaps who just bends people the wrong way. He has had problems with NSW team mates and now Australian team mates. Many of the selection problems, particularly when it came to India, could be put down to the selectors picking a team for Clarke, rather than the best XI. However, Clarke has done his best in difficult times. He has been given the toughest captaining assignment in Australian cricket since AB took the job, and he has not done badly at all. This summer will be the test, and if he can get the Ashes back his legacy will be assured. If not, then questions should be asked as to whether he is the right man for the job.

  • POSTED BY on | October 13, 2013, 2:02 GMT

    Cricinfo continues it's veer towards tabloidism. Ponting's overall feeling is one of confidence in Clarke, and in all fairness, if Ponting were to captain this current side, they would probably have yet to win a test. Pup is twice the captain Punter ever was.

  • POSTED BY on | October 13, 2013, 2:19 GMT

    Perhaps Punter is not all that wrong about Pup, I think a lot of fans/journos do consider Pup to be somewhat less approachable/distant than Aussie captains of the past. Well Steve Waugh was famously introvert and he was a very good and successful captain. However he had a very good bunch of players, first XI and reserve. Maybe when you are a team in transition you require someone like a Mark Taylor then a Michael Clarke

  • POSTED BY MaheshExotics on | October 13, 2013, 2:21 GMT

    Ricky Ponting is simply great player, captain and motivator.

  • POSTED BY on | October 13, 2013, 3:14 GMT

    Sums up basically what a lot of people thinks of Clarke & the legacy he may leave. Hussey can thank his stars he was scoring runs & chose his retirement time. It was interesting to note last year he did not announce his retirement till it was a bombshell & not a public farewell season. I suppose even Clarke knew it would look bad if both Katich & Hussey were dumped, whilst scoring runs, when he became captain. It puts a different light on Watson, although he is an under-achiever. But as captain, it is notable Clarke can't contain Warner. Maybe Warner has a katich like punch on him.

  • POSTED BY Gilly5 on | October 13, 2013, 3:38 GMT

    Great article by the Punter, open, honest and most of all fair.

  • POSTED BY on | October 13, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    Very interesting article from Ricky Ponting - Well worth reading.