April 3, 2011

Australian cricket

Much more than captaincy

Akhila Ranganna

Michael Clarke faces a greater challenge than any of the 42 Test captains before him, writes David Sygall in the Sunday Herald. Apart from being loaded with the burden of turning the fortunes of the struggling team, he is also expected to lead cricket's resurrection and reinvent its identity.

Where there are big-picture challenges facing the game - such as privatisation, the place of T20, a rusty player-development structure and administration, and challenges to popularity, ratings and revenue - internet forums, letters to editors, and some media have found an easy, and sometimes too obliging, target in Clarke.

In the the Age, Richard Hinds writes that he is trying to hate Michael Clarke, as seems to be the norm. But try as he might, he can't; he thinks Clarke will make a good captain and even perhaps a great one.

Indeed, I can't help thinking that a captain who has endured a few real-life problems might be able to assist his young teammates with more than just a few tips about their front-foot defence. And, as much as we revered the win 'em and wear 'em toughness of Allan Border, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting, maybe the time has come for a sensitive Gen Y skipper.

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Akhila Ranganna is assistant editor (Audio) at ESPNcricinfo

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