CB Series 2011-12 February 14, 2012

Ponting to captain in Clarke's absence


Australia's selectors have turned to the former captain Ricky Ponting as the short-term leadership solution to Michael Clarke's hamstring problem.

Less than a year after he passed the job to Clarke, Ponting will lead his country in Friday's triangular series ODI against Sri Lanka in Sydney.

In naming Ponting as the stand-in captain, the national selector John Inverarity said that David Warner's leadership potential was being closely monitored, though it was thought best not to thrust him into the captaincy immediately. Warner still has only a modest record in ODI matches, and has made an indifferent start to this series.

"After careful consideration the National Selection Panel has asked Ricky Ponting if he would captain the Australian ODI team in Michael Clarke's absence," Inverarity said. "David Warner is a young player making his way. He displays considerable leadership potential, but the NSP is of the view that he should not, at this moment, have the added responsibility of captaincy thrust on him.

"David has been gaining valuable experience under Michael Clarke's captaincy and now he will have the opportunity to grow his leadership skills further as vice-captain to Ricky Ponting. In making this decision the NSP reminded itself of the fact that Ricky Ponting led the winning Australian ICC Cricket World Cup teams in 2003 and 2007. The NSP appreciates the fact that Ricky is prepared to accept this responsibility in the wider interests of the team."

Clarke is expected to be fit in time to return to the team for Sunday's match against India in Brisbane, the second of the two fixtures for which the 14-man squad was named. Another notable change was the resting of the fast bowler Ryan Harris, after he put in an uncharacteristically loose display with the ball and in the field against India in Adelaide.

Inverarity said that Harris was carrying a few "minor niggles" while also appearing to show signs of fatigue after playing in the third and fourth Tests against India then the first three ODIs of the triangular series. In his place are Brett Lee, who has made a swift recovery from a broken bone in his foot, and Ben Hilfenhaus.

"Some players are showing signs of fatigue after a demanding summer in which the Australian team has played with great intensity and purpose and performed with distinction," Inverarity said. " The NSP has omitted Ryan Harris for this reason and for the fact that he is carrying some minor niggles. The NSP has refreshed the squad with the inclusion of Brett Lee and Ben Hilfenhaus. Brett is making a good recovery from his toe injury and will be given rigorous fitness tests before Friday's ODI fixture. As expected Michael Hussey returns to the squad."

Shane Watson, meanwhile, has been deemed ready to return to first-class cricket after a grade appearance in Sydney over the weekend. He will turn out alongside the Test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin for New South Wales against Western Australia in Perth, in a Sheffield Shield match starting on Friday.

"Shane played a Grade cricket game in Sydney on Saturday," the team physio Alex Kountouris said. "He batted and bowled in that game without any issue and will be available for consideration for selection for a Bupa Shield game in Perth later this week as he continues his return from injury."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 16, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    awesome awesome cricket is All ways Awesome

  • Abhishek on February 16, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    guess u guys are being too harsh on Inverarity. I think what has happened here is that since Warner is a bit of outta touch, Inverarity wants him to return to form without giving him the additional burden of captaincy. Seems like a short sighted decision though coz Australians are known to take tough decisions so this I guess is a bit of soft stand by the Australian selectors

  • Tim on February 16, 2012, 2:08 GMT

    They couldn't have picked a better man. @land47, could you please enlighten us as to which Englishman has been a more successful ODI captain than Ricky Ponting? You can choose whether it be in the 'old days' or the 'new days'.

  • Ranga on February 15, 2012, 21:06 GMT

    @Wozza-CY: buddy no team train 5-6 captains to be in a side. This is not like Australia has shifted to reverse gear. Clarke is not dead by any means. He's just injured. Australia has several players in the shape of captains but non is available. If Watson or Haddin was available in the team I think they would have gone with instead of Ricky. Mind you Dave Warner is a replaced V/C for Watson meaning once Watson returns Warner won't be the V/C. Clarke has some years left in him and then if Watson is no longer there Warner is a possibility. But till then I think this is the best choice they got. And trust me as a Sri Lankan fan we would like to face a Clarke led Aussie team any day over a Ponting led Australia.

  • Dummy4 on February 15, 2012, 18:44 GMT

    great decision to have pointing lead, as far as india's captain goes, m.s dhoni is a great captain, but Indian selectors are not supporting him with bringing in youth. you can't find a better wicket keeping captain, and those are always the best, because you always need a keeper in the team as welll, as a captain, and it allows one player to play both roles, and make room for others in the team.

  • Dummy4 on February 15, 2012, 16:56 GMT

    Isn't the VC supposed to step in and lead in case of injury to the Cptn ? What if Clarke was injured while batting during a match and had to sit it out? Is Inverarity and NSP saying that in such a case Warner is incapable of stepping in? Then what is the point of making Warner the VC in the first place? Sometimes I dont understand Inverarity at all. First he backs a debutante captain and then he decides to fall back to the very captain he axed. Making Warner captain in the absence of Clarke would have been the smarter choice.

  • Rajinda on February 15, 2012, 16:12 GMT

    Does anyone see the irony of both Sri Lanka & Australia going back to their former captains to lead the team, when no one is around? Say what you will about both these guy's current form, I am thrilled to see the 2007 WC finalist captains out there in the middle battling again leading new younger teams. Good luck to both of them!

  • Hari on February 15, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    Welcome Ricky... You are one of the best captain I ever saw. Everyone talks abt u just because u lost the batting. Now you are in form and you will rock.. Best of Luck...

  • Abhishek on February 15, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    Hey guess who is on the defensive now, EH??? There's been a lotta talk on how aggressive the australian cricket and its selection policies are but i guess the last over six by Superman Dhoni has the Australians on the backfoot. WELCOME CHANGE

  • Andy on February 15, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    funny to see warner considered for captaincy, may be he can retain place in the squad just for this reason. Warner can't play spin, don't you expect him to score many if you see a spinner operating in the early overs. It would have been an interesting choice to choose David Hussey as a captain, he never got a chance to captain the side and he has good experience as well.

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