Australia v Sri Lanka, Commonwealth Bank Series, Hobart February 23, 2012

Clarke accepts role in axeing Ponting


Michael Clarke is confident his role on the selection panel that dropped Ricky Ponting from the ODI side will not lead to tension between Ponting and himself. Clarke is a member of the five-man group headed by John Inverarity that ended Ponting's one-day international career earlier this week after deciding they needed to plan for the limited-overs team's future.

However, Clarke and Ponting will have to work closely together as the No. 4 and 5 batsmen during the Test tour of the West Indies in April after Ponting confirmed he wanted to play on in the longer format. Clarke did not shy away from his role on the panel and said Ponting, who had made five single-figure ODI scores in succession, understood that the decision was not personal.

"I'm 100% part of the selection panel," Clarke said. "That's part now of the captain's job. We've made this decision as a panel. It is tough not having the great Ricky Ponting out there playing for us but that's the decision we've made. Obviously the 2015 World Cup is something we've spoken about as a panel. I'm 100% a part of that.

"Ricky was captain of the team for a long time and although he wasn't a selector he played a big part in selecting the XI players that took the field. I remember getting dropped after the Test match in the West Indies and Punter was the one who came and told me I hadn't been selected. He knows it's certainly not personal. I'm very confident our friendship is a lot stronger than that."

Australia will play their first match in the post-Ponting ODI era against Sri Lanka in Hobart on Friday. That Tasmania is Ponting's home state has been cause for some debate over whether he should have been given a farewell match - the Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jaywardene said there was usually scope for farewell games in his country - but Clarke said there was no reason to think Ponting had played his last match for Australia on home soil.

"He's going to play a lot more Test cricket I hope," he said. "So there's going to be plenty of time for Ricky to play international cricket for Australia."

Although Clarke has played 38 one-day internationals without Ponting in the side the feeling will different this time, knowing that his absence is permanent in this format. Not only is Ponting Australia's most-capped and highest-scoring ODI player, he has offered much in the way of off-field support, both as a sounding board for the new captain Clarke and as a mentor for younger players.

Ponting even took on the captaincy in his final two matches when Clarke was injured, while many former leaders might have been reluctant to return to the job in similar circumstances. Clarke said it was odd to think of an Australian one-day dressing room without Ponting after his 17-year career in the format.

"It certainly is [strange]," he said. "He's certainly going to be missed. I've been great friends with Punter for a long time and that certainly won't change. But I've also played a lot of one-day cricket with him and it's going to feel really weird looking around the field and not seeing him there.

"I'll miss his guidance out on the field, his guidance off the field, his friendship, his experience around the group, his knowledge of this game. They're things that no matter much talent you have as a young player, the experience and knowledge of the game you need to learn."

Ponting's departure will also force a reworking of Australia's top order. The nature of the line-up will depend on whether Shane Watson is named to play in his first match back from injury, but it could be that Watson and David Warner open with Michael Clarke at No.3 and Matthew Wade slides down the order.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Zafar on February 24, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    @ Abdullah White-lion Harris... You are spot on mate.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2012, 8:18 GMT

    (i m adding something please publish it cricinfo) if they are saying to pointing they are preparing for WC15 . then why on earth brett lee and micheal hussey is on team?? bcz the major issue might be the age right?? bcz by start of WC15 pointing will be 41. what about lee and hussey. they are 35 and 36 respectively.. then y they dnt axed both of them.. by saying this u r not in wc planing.. bcz i dnt think they are going to play cricket worldcup 2015... right?. well i feel like its not australian cricket board.. its like PCB. really

  • Venkat on February 24, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    @Alekk400, I know it becomes inevitable to pull sachin into anything That talks about punter. Trust me sachin is a Gazillion times Better than ponting. The amount of pressure under which sachin scored With weight of a nation's frenzied cricket fans is unimaginable. Ponting was clearly scoring under the cushion of his performing Teammates pretty much all the time. The recent 175 vs Australia in Hyderabad Is kind of the innings sachin plays most of the time and the worried look On punter's face when sachin was going great guns when wickets were Tumbling around him said it all. I agree sachin is not at his peak. No one can continue To be at peak after 20 yrs of pressure cooker cricket an Indian Cricketer plays but sachin has come the nearest to achieving it And that's why he is and will be the greatest batsman of all time.

  • brai on February 24, 2012, 6:18 GMT

    @AidanFX yes i do , clarke is not in right frame .he gets rid of potential threats to his place as captain cameroon white (best domestic captain ) was sacked out of t20 when clarkes position was doubted watto was talked about possibilities unfortunately india series secured him a lot now watto is carrying drinks .warner was not given captaincy ponting got it.bailey made his debut captaincy not going to be considered anyway clarke has and is dumping serious talents let to poor slump after world cup .seriously mitchell marsh kid is best talent in aus now class and spirit spoiling it comparing him with average cricketers after all he won us worldcup under 19 ! krejza is far better only 29 ! ?

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2012, 5:38 GMT

    @ Game_Gazer haha and look at our BCCI, they can wait for 50 matches without a single run scored :D. Its all money (from sponsors) behind the decisions

  • Greg on February 24, 2012, 4:14 GMT

    The issue I have with Tendulkar is everyone is waiting for the 100th hundred. Then when he gets it (assume itll be against some minnow) then all of a sudden everyone will think he is in form again. He will be calling it a day on his terms because he can.

    Australian selectors were brave and did the right thing in dropping ponting. and it was fair enough, considering he was out of form.

  • Sunil on February 24, 2012, 4:05 GMT

    Very professional approach by Clark and these are signs of a good captain who will be honest and forthright with his team.

  • suhaib on February 24, 2012, 3:34 GMT

    Ricky is a fine cricketer with an amazing record as a captain and a player. He had a poor run of form and therefore has been dropped. Given his current form, age and future of Oz cricket, they have made the right decision. India can hire him as a fielding coach but unfortunately the coach will be fitter than most Indian players!!!

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2012, 3:03 GMT

    What goes around - comes around! Hopefully Clarke knows that. As much as I don't like Ponting, he deserved a farewell match at his home ground and bow out.

  • Amit on February 24, 2012, 2:51 GMT

    So long Punter...Being an India fan, No matter how much I want to see you get out, it was always a pleausre to see you bat.

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