Australia in Bangladesh 2011 March 30, 2011

Clarke named captain for Bangladesh tour


Michael Clarke will lead his predecessor Ricky Ponting and a little-changed touring party to Bangladesh for three limited overs matches after being officially named Australia's new captain on Wednesday. Clarke will captain Australia in Tests and ODIs, while Cameron White continues as national Twenty20 captain.

There was no surprise at the sight of Clarke suited up at the SCG for the announcement, taking on the mantle that he has waited patiently for over a lengthy tenure as vice-captain. "It is a great honour to be appointed captain of Australia but at the same time a great surprise as I wasn't expecting Ricky Ponting to stand down," Clarke said. "I have always respected those who have come before me in this role and humbled to think of my name being mentioned alongside theirs."

It did not take long for the matter of Clarke's popularity to be raised, given another raft of public polls that confirmed he was far from the public's stand-out choice as leader.

"I don't know exactly why it's there, but it is and it has probably been there over the whole of my career," he said. "Hopefully I can earn the respect of the doubters who are out there. No doubt it's about how I conduct myself on and off the field, I need to continue to be true to myself, and people are entitled to their own opinion but it is important I do everything in the interests of the team, and try to do everything I can to be the best captain I can possibly be.

"I don't sit here and believe I can get the whole of this country to like me, people are always going to have their own views, but for me it's about respect, it's about earning that respect, leading the team in the right way, playing cricket in the right manner."

Shane Watson will be the new vice-captain under Clarke. Xavier Doherty has replaced Jason Kejza as the lead spinner in the squad, while James Pattinson has been recalled in place of the retired Shaun Tait. David Hussey is unable to tour due to the imminent birth of his first child.

Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said in a statement that Doherty deserved his spot in side. "Xavier was not considered for the ICC Cricket World Cup because of a nagging back injury. Jason bowled well in the World Cup, but now Xavier has recovered from injury he deserves to come back into the squad."

He also said that Watson has been earmarked as a player with leadership potential. "Shane Watson is a critical player for Australia's future and has been identified over the last 12-18 months as someone with leadership potential and we are sure Shane will relish the challenge of being a part of the leadership group needed to guide Australia through this exciting but challenging time."

Clarke said the Bangladesh tour would allow him to strike the right balance in his changed relationship with Ponting, laughing off suggestions the former leader was "the elephant in the room".

"I certainly don't think Ricky's any elephant in any room," Clarke said. "He's been an amazing player for a long time and I think Bangladesh is going to be a great test for that, to see how it all unfolds. I know he will allow me to do my job to the best of my ability. I have a very good working relationship with Punter and I'm confident that if he can continue to play as well as he has done for such a long time, I'm certain it can work."

While Clarke will have the final call on the batting order whenever he leads, he forecast a summit with Ponting, vice-captain Watson, chairman of selectors Hilditch and coach Tim Nielsen about where the former skipper would bat in Tests.

"I think we have a great opportunity after these three one dayers in Bangladesh to sit down and have a look at our Test cricket and one day cricket and work that out," Clarke said. "In these one dayers coming up I don't see any reason why Ricky Ponting won't bat at No.3, his last game for Australia he scored a hundred, he's had an amazing career batting at No.3.

"I certainly don't think that'll change in these three one day matches, and then we can sit down and have that conversation and assess when we get back."

Squad: Michael Clarke (capt), Shane Watson, Brad Haddin (wk), Ricky Ponting, Cameron White, Mike Hussey, Callum Ferguson, Tim Paine (wk), Steve Smith, Mitchell Johnson, John Hastings, Brett Lee, Xavier Doherty, James Pattinson.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 2, 2011, 20:37 GMT

    My ODI X1 would be Shane watson, Aaron finch, Mark cosgrove,Clarke, luke Pomersbach/dan chrisitan, shaun Marsh/Fergusson, mathew wade,James pattison,Patrick cummins, peter siddle, Xavier doherty. I see no reason why we need to pick ponting, hussey brothers who are well past their prime and would not last more than a year or two the test x1 should be Jacquesl ,Shane watson, ponting, Khwaja, Clarke,Ed Cowan,Haddin, Josh Hazelwood/siddle, Pattison, Trent copeland, Hauritz.

  • David on April 1, 2011, 12:00 GMT

    in the 1st line was meant to read 'shouldn't'. meety, he had very little intent whilst batting & was taking watto smoking it as a chance to play himself into form whilst loading the pressure on watto & those to come in. he was blocking & leaving ball after ball where all he really needed to do was drop the ball into a gap & take a single. he was striking the ball at ~60 in a run a ball chase on a road. not a captains knock.

  • Firdaus on April 1, 2011, 11:14 GMT

    My XI would be- 1) Watson 2) Haddin 3) Ponting 4) Clarke 5) Ferguson 6) M. Hussey 7) D.Hussey 8) Johnson 9) Lee 10) Dohery 11) Harris/Nannes/Pattinson

  • ks on April 1, 2011, 11:09 GMT

    welcome aussies...BD tigers are waiting for u

  • sairam on April 1, 2011, 5:09 GMT

    I have full hope on clarke.. He can be a good leader. that's for sure.. Never forget he has a great ablility to reform the side and to build the momentum of the team.. I personally feel no need to change the batting order of Ricky Ponting.. He has proven in that position..

  • Andrew on March 31, 2011, 23:44 GMT

    @Robofk - I agree re: squad selection. Its more or less the recent WC squad that were ultimately unsuccessful. Won't disagree too much with your squad - it essentially a good one. I'd swap Warner for Khawaja. As far as Copeland is concerned, I don't think he is a short format bowler, I am a huge fan - & he would walk straight into the Test squad. Have a look at his List A figures, they are nothing compared to his longer format. I'd go with pattinson & Richardson before him, I'd also like to give Lyon a go too! @VivGilchrist - like with Robofk, for a nothing tour, why not blood players. Give MJ a rest, let Punter get mentally prepared for SL, & ditto Hussey. I think the only way to break the tunnel vision of the selectors, (& sort a few fans out too), is for a Possibles & Probables before each tour. Won't neccesarily be the sole factor for who tours & who doesn't, (Imean if Watto failed & went 0/30 off 3 he'd still tour hey?). But it would let players know they are close!!!!!

  • Andrew on March 31, 2011, 23:35 GMT

    @Dr.Qwert - Pups innings was NOT a selfish knock. Whilst Watto was playing welll & smoting the Poms all over the park, all Clarke had to do was nudge singles & KEEP his wicket. Oz turned what was in theory a bloody hard chase into something fairly comfortable because they wanted to launch from the 30th over & turn it into a T20. They did that - Clarkes innings was the PERFECT foil to Watto's. It allowed the remaining batsmen to not worry about keeping their wickets in hand & attack. @hyclass - I hold him in high regard too, as in the early yrs of IPL - he declined to go. Shows to me actually has his mind on the job. Funny thing about Pup is - he is VERY popular with people UNDER 21 - probably more so than all the rest of the team combined. @CJC1 - pull your head in. Name a better option then Mark Taylor or S Waugh when they were captain - don't tell me you wanted White instead of Pup!!!!!

  • Calvin on March 31, 2011, 19:40 GMT

    It was to be expected with him being from NSW, but can't see him being a very good captian, he's not even got a guaranteed place in the side half the time.

    This may all end in tears.... Kim Hughes anyone???

  • Robo on March 31, 2011, 16:13 GMT

    I dont understand what these selectors are doing. Try to develop a good team for 2015 wc should be the aim now. If I was the selecter I wolud have gone for 1)David Warner,2)Shaun Marsh, 3)Michael Clarke, 4)Cullum Ferguson, 5)Daniel Christian, 6)Shane Watson, 7)Tim paine, 8)Steve O'Keefe, 9)James Pattinson, 10)Trent Aaron Copeland, 11)Xavier John Doherty, Luke Rex Butterworth, Mark James Cosgrove, John Wayne Hastings,Steve Smith.

  • Satyam on March 31, 2011, 15:23 GMT

    I believe Daniel Christian and Patrick Cummins should have been given a chance on this tour. Can anyone from Australia enlighten me as to why these guys have not been picked? And what is Ponting trying to prove making himself available for the tour? Couldn't he and others like Hussey and White be rested if not dropped?

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