Bangladesh v Australia, 1st ODI, Mirpur April 8, 2011

Ponting's advice still vital, says Clarke


Should Australia's new captain Michael Clarke encounter trouble in the field against Bangladesh at the Shere Bangla Stadium on Saturday, he will have no qualms about summoning Ricky Ponting from his fielding position for advice.

The brief limited-overs tour of Bangladesh provides the chance for Clarke and Ponting to set the ground rules for a most uncommon relationship in recent Australian cricket history - that of the former and current captains working alongside one another. Ponting has said he will be happy to "sit in my corner" and speak when spoken to, but Clarke said there would be no deliberate distance between the two.

"Ricky's advice has always been very helpful to me, whether that be as his deputy or now as the captain," Clarke said. "I've said openly to Ricky that his experience and knowledge of the game is something we [the team] will continue to need, especially me as an inexperienced captain. I've been fortunate enough to captain Australia in a few one dayers and Twenty20s, and one Test match, but his knowledge is going to be crucial to the team going forward.

"Our relationship has always been very strong on and off the field, and I'm certain that won't change. It was good to see him make some runs, he looks in really good nick, after scoring that hundred against India in the recent World Cup. I'm confident he'll come out tomorrow and score some more runs for us."

Whatever his words of support for Ponting, it's clear Clarke would like to kick start the process of lifting a team that slipped up badly towards the end of his predecessor's reign. "The one thing I'm trying to bring to this team is for us to be a bit more consistent with our play," he said. "Over the last couple of years we've played some really good cricket, but in patches.

Clarke is looking forward to the added responsibility. "There's obviously added pressure as the captain but I look forward to that. We have a very good squad with a lot of talent, and we can be very successful going forward. Hopefully we can start the tour well by winning."

A lack of centuries at the World Cup - Ponting's rousing effort in their quarter-final loss to India was their only ton of the tournament - and a decline in fielding standards, said Clarke, are among his chief concerns.

"When Australian one-day teams have had success, somebody in the top four has gone on to make a big score," he said. "We only scored one century through the World Cup, so we'll be focussing on someone from the top order going on to make a big score in all three games [against Bangladesh].

"Discipline is still the key with the ball - to hit the right areas with the new ball, to change the pace, to use the bouncer, and the yorker at the death are areas we're working on as a bowling unit. And the focus is also on improving our standards in the field. I think our fielding has been pretty inconsistent over the last 12 to 18 months and it's important now to continue working hard on that part of our game."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Narayan on April 9, 2011, 10:14 GMT

    Not taking advice from Ponting will not show that Clarke is strong in thinking. Taking advice and then having courage to reject them if it doesn't fit his own framework of thought will show courage and strenght. I think ponting can contribute for another two to three years; but if, over the next year, his ODI average is below 35 and test average is below 50 Ponting should retire or CA should keep him out.

  • Venkatesh on April 9, 2011, 6:32 GMT

    @ landl47. Well considering that the rest of the world themselves had good pratice of making losers speech over the last 12 YEARS, i am sure clarke need not go to ponting for that........ This is the rebuilding process..... I am sure that the team can win the Next WC and everything will be back to the way it was.........

  • John on April 9, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    @Meety: then why DIDN'T they do whatever it took to make it happen? The decline over the last four years has been obvious to anyone but the most rabid Aussie fan (I refer, of course, to jonesy2). Ponting hasn't had any idea how to improve the situation- in fact, his solution has been to do nothing and hope things will sort themselves out. Australia now isn't far from crisis. The last of the old guard are getting to retiring age and there is almost no young talent coming up. The desperation is such that when Khawaja gets 37 and 21 in a test in which England made 644, he's hailed as a bright new star. There are no spinners, the fast men just got taken for 4 scores over 500 in a test series and as you rightly note the fielding is abysmal. I don't envy Clarke; when you look at all the young talent England has coming up, he must be feeling he's on a hiding to nothing. It's back to the 80s for Australia and time to rebuild. Trouble is, they have very few bricks.

  • Ronnie on April 9, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    Time for a new make over in team

    Need players Like Tim Paine, David Hussey, Brad Hodge to make bating side tough n in bowlers need Doug Bouliger, Ryan Harris, Dirk Nannes,

    Need 2 replace Brad Haddin n Craig white

  • Christopher on April 9, 2011, 1:53 GMT

    Australia didnt slip, 'towards the end of Pontings'reign'as is stated.They plummetted for 4 whole years.They reached the depths of 5th in the world rankings.That period exactly coincided with Nielsen as coach,Hilditch as head selector and Sutherland as CEO.These are the same men who theorised that,doing nothing to either the makeup of the side or the coaching and administration when losing, was the best policy.This same group refused to take responsibility for anything they said or did.They blamed shield cricketers who werent being selected or denied there was a problem and simply wanted to'move forward'.Now,the same team that was thrashed in both the Ashes and the World Cup is playing against the minnows from Bangladesh.It's purely a marketing excercise for Cricket Australia in an attempt to gain credits before the review into australian cricket is released.Ponting was a failure with the bat for 4 years.Nothing he does now is relevent to Clarkes' captaincy.Clarke has real integrity.

  • Vikram on April 9, 2011, 1:43 GMT

    wow... "especially me as an inexperienced captain" ? how would someone expect him to be assertive? Mr. Clarke, you are in charge, and you need to act starting so.

  • Dummy4 on April 9, 2011, 0:46 GMT

    its okay ponting.goodluck am with you support to wc only yours,its a bet

  • Andrew on April 9, 2011, 0:11 GMT

    Fact is Punter wants to see Oz cricket return to its rightfuld position at the top of the International rankings. So does Pup. They will do WHATEVER it takes to make that happen. The BEST thing I have heard is Pup acknowledge "...the focus is also on improving our standards in the field" That has just about been my single biggest gripe about Ozzy cricket in the last 10yrs. It has been declining alarmingly - particularly slip fielding. Get rid of Young as fielding coach & bring in M Waugh!!!!

  • Dinesh on April 8, 2011, 18:36 GMT

    @bigwonder - that's not the intent at all. Clarke will not run to ponting every time. This is just to keep the relationship comfortable. Clarke is man enough to make his own decisions and live by them. This statement is just to Warm punter's ego!

  • John on April 8, 2011, 17:50 GMT

    The only helpful advice Ponting could give Clarke is how to make his losing captain's speech. Ponting's had lots of practice at that in the last 12 months.

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