Ian Chappell
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Former Australia captain, now a cricket commentator and columnist

Where's Australia's next captain coming from?

The two closest candidates are Watson and Warner, but neither has a realistic chance of landing the job

Ian Chappell

February 26, 2012

Comments: 58 | Text size: A | A

Shane Watson bowls in the nets, Johannesburg, November 16, 2011
Watson's injury history and his age are two strikes against him being captain © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Michael Clarke | Shane Watson | David Warner
Teams: Australia

One of the more amazing statistics regarding the Australian team is how few captains have led the country in the 135-year history of Test cricket.

Michael Clarke is No. 43, which means that, on average, an Australian captain's reign is just over three years. The problem comes when considering who might be No. 44.

Clarke is a good captain and early signs suggest he'll be one of the better ones, beating the average by a considerable margin. However, at some point he'll reach his use-by date. Generally, even this early in a captain's reign, a successor is lurking. That's not the case currently.

It's common to have at least three Sheffield Shield captains in the Test side, but there are currently none. Of the six Shield captains only one, George Bailey, might make the Australian Test side in the future but his chances are as remote as the back of Bourke. So far, he hasn't proved himself a good enough batsman to make the Test side, and he's roughly the same age as Clarke. It's fairly safe to scratch him from the Test captaincy stakes.

From the current Test players there are only two candidates, Shane Watson and David Warner. Watson has been vice-captain to Clarke in the past, so presumably he'd take over, provided he was fit, if anything happened to the skipper. And therein lies the major problem with Watson's candidacy. A captain has to stay on the field under all but the most dire circumstances. Like most candidates, Watson suffers from having had little experience of leadership at Shield level, but even so, any selection panel would be loath to appoint him full-time captain because of his injury history. He's also virtually the same age as Clarke. Watson could only be classed as a rank outsider.

Warner has good credentials. He bats aggressively and as a fielder he's always looking at ways to help win a game. He's also five years younger than Clarke, so age-wise he's ideal. However, he has to cement his place in the team, and second, there's the way he bats. His method is exciting to watch and it greatly enhances his team's chances of victory but it can look careless when it fails. This makes it difficult for Warner to admonish a team-mate for his sloppy play. Generally Warner's type makes for a terrific team-mate and even a good deputy but rarely are they appointed full-time captain.

Virender Sehwag is a good example of why, as the two are similar in style. Sehwag has occasionally led India on this tour and his problem arises when he has to tell one of the talented young batsmen in the side to stop throwing away his wicket. It is a strain on Sehwag's credibility when he has just holed out three times by mis-hitting full tosses on leg stump and has then toe-ended a wide delivery straight into third man's hands.

Warner is a good candidate for deputy but appointing him captain might mean he'd have to moderate his strokeplay a little, and that wouldn't be good for him or the team.

Historically batsmen have made the best captains, although according to Richie Benaud, "this is a theory put forward by batsmen." With all the good young fast bowlers coming through at the moment maybe it's time to start looking in that direction for the next captain - although their injury history is discouraging.

Not since the days of World Series Cricket and the rebel South African tours, when many experienced players were lost to Australian cricket, has there been such a leadership vacuum. This is further confirmation that Australia need good batsmen making the Test side at around age 20. That means they're mature cricketers on reaching 27 - the right time to assume the leadership.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator and columnist

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Posted by zenboomerang on (February 29, 2012, 6:58 GMT)

@Tom Schulz :- "Mr Chappell is saying there are not many 22 year olds that come to mind"... Obviously Chappelli spends too much time in the commentary box... S Smith (BBL capt), M Marsh (U19 Oz capt), Wade all are young & have captaincy claims for the future... Lots more if you want to look through the profiles...

Posted by PYC1959 on (February 29, 2012, 2:10 GMT)

Why are you worrying about the next captain? Clarke has only just been appointed and you come out with this sort of rubbish. Watson and Warner may not even be playing when Clarke decides to call it quits.

Posted by Busie1979 on (February 28, 2012, 23:57 GMT)

To those Khawaja fans, I do think he should be in the team, but don't think he should be captain. He is not a great fielder and you need the captain to be a dependable (if not inspirational) fielder to set the standard for the team. Just like Chappell said Warner can't tell off batsman for playing a bad shot, Khawaja can't tell off fielders for sloppy fielders. Also - I haven't seen the leadership qualities in Khawaja that other people see. Would love to hear why people think Khawaja would be a good fielder.

Posted by   on (February 28, 2012, 15:42 GMT)

Over a decade ago, Clarke was the captain and standout player of Australia's U19 side, and was marked for the test role as early as then. Ponting's rise through his late teens was tracked similarly. That is the type of captaincy life-cycle question Mr Chappell has raised. The most insightful appointments involve spotting the "X" factor qualities that will make a great captain, and handing them the mantle with a long career left ahead of them. Think Allan Border, or Graeme Smith for a SA example. Mr Chappell is saying there are not many 22 year olds that come to mind.

Posted by Truemans_Ghost on (February 28, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

Isn't this a wee bit premature? Clarke is in his prime and will be about for a while. One of the two candidates Chappell suggests (Warner) has only just made his test debut, which shows how quickly another candidate could appear. Granted (as Finncam says) Clarke was long groomed for the captaincy, as Cook has been for England, but these are exceptions. Many successful captains haven't been. Chappells point about "historically" there being 2 Shield captains in the team is also just that- history. In the modern game I suspect a State team would want a captain who is around a bit more than a senior test player would be. I do wonder about Chappell sometimes.

Posted by zenboomerang on (February 28, 2012, 4:21 GMT)

Lots of time to worry about future captains - 3 or 4 years... There are possibly 10 candidates playing at international & domestic level that could fill that role in the future... Australia is in a rebuilding phase within the team & many potential captains will come along with the new players... Ponting & Huss will be gone by then & who knows where our top team will be at in 2 years... See lots of changes in the future...

Posted by finncam on (February 28, 2012, 2:42 GMT)

What most comments here don't seem to remember, is that clarke was being groomed for captaincy about 5 years ago. CA and selectors think about he long-term. Chappell is an ex-captain, so he knows these things are not just based on current form. Personally, I thinks its too soon to tell with WArner, but then, I 'm not sure why he's being talked about anyway, as future captain. He hasn't been around long enough in the national team to even act as vice-captain. As for Watto - too young and indiscrete emotionally for a 30 hear old senior player, apart form the injury issue. THere are others, such as Paine, who have the more stable and classic form, as well as the mental maturity.

Posted by Xerephah on (February 28, 2012, 0:55 GMT)

Well I registered to comment on Philip Katon's view that Aus wouldn't accept Kawaja as captain. I feel that if he is the best person available for the job, he should be appointed. The race/religeon/colour of a person should not make the slightest difference to selection criteria for captain or any other position in any sporting team playing for Australia. Anyone feeling differently to this is obviously living in the wrong country and is welcome to leave and not return.

Posted by T-800 on (February 27, 2012, 21:59 GMT)

Using this article as another placeholder to make another note of my skepticism of Michael Clarke as captain (So that, in perhaps another 2-3 years time I can point here and say either "I Told you so" or a record of another silly comment at cricinfo). I say this despite the rollicking that India received from Australia recently. India in recent years is a weak team abroad. The real tests of a Clarke captaincy will like in the way he handles the Ashes and South Africa as well as how he leads Australia in the World Cup. I will retain my skepticism of Clarke till then

Posted by hhillbumper on (February 27, 2012, 19:52 GMT)

Jonesey 2 as ever showing a searing insight

Posted by ranga_s on (February 27, 2012, 18:45 GMT)

Dear Mr. Chappell, as an SL fan I always enjoyed your commentaries. But I have to disagree on this issue and I think many of the Aussie fans too will disagree with your perspective simply because it's way too early. Clarke is doing a good job and unless he breaks down big time it's pretty evident he will lead Australia in 2015 WC where he'd be around 33-34 years. Since the tournament held in Australia and as Aussies have done really well in WC it's fair to expect them to be at least among the semi finalist. That sort of achievement will not call gun shots for Clarke's retirement hence Clarke can lead that team for 1 or 2 years and during that period Australia can decide on who should be next captain. You say David Warner but irrespective what you want him to be he's fairly ordinary batsman. Peter Forrest looked far more composed and he also had that look of a Aussie skipper when he batted with Clarke. Still I'm pretty sure Australia can find a solid captain from their county circuit.

Posted by gregjones on (February 27, 2012, 15:52 GMT)

Bizarre question as usual from Mr. Chappell. If you don't have any valid topic to discuss, then you come up with stupid ones, right? Clarke has been captain for just about 5 months and this man Chappell is already thinking of who is going to be the next skipper? It is amazing that even after sitting in the air conditioned com box for decades, these so called experts come out with such poor statements. Mr. Chappell also often says that Warne would have been Australia's greatest captain. I absolutely disagree. I think no other captain would have lead his side better than Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting. Just have a look at their captaincy records and one will dare to disagree with them and say that Warne would have lead even a cent better than them. Mr. Chappell has a habit of supporting and commenting good about players who he personally likes and gets along with rather than comment in a neutral fashion which is expected from good commentators.

Posted by TheMeanMachine on (February 27, 2012, 14:50 GMT)

I guess its still to early to speak about Peter Forrest as a future captain. But then its a certainty that he will be playing in the next Test series Australia are in and it will be strikingly similar to how Clarke was spoken about as captaincy material so early in his career. Watson is a terrific player but Chappell is right in his opinion that Watson might never be given a full time captaincy role unless Clarke messes up big time in the next 2 years and is stripped off the captaincy. Warner is in the Sehwag mould and not an ideal captain. If one of the bowlers could be an option, then Siddle is the only one who looks like he can get a nod but its still early days. But if selectors are serious about him, he might be groomed.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2012, 13:43 GMT)

No mention of Peter Siddle... who is 27 incidentally. Hold him in high regard for his attitude and never say die spirit. I think he would be a good leader who others would follow.

Posted by EmperorsXI on (February 27, 2012, 12:58 GMT)

I think Peter Forrest would be a good choice

Posted by   on (February 27, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

Much as I love Shane Watson, he has spent half his career injured. Just cannot have this in a full-time captain. Warner isn't going to last at test level, so it confuses me why anyone would think he is in contention. Khawaja if he ever gets back in the side would be the first choice for grooming.

Posted by kasyapm on (February 27, 2012, 12:21 GMT)

Don't understand the point of this article. It is only recently that Clarke has taken over the captaincy and has done a decent job so far. The time to decide a new captain is not even with in a year.

Posted by Green_and_Gold on (February 27, 2012, 12:08 GMT)

In 5 years i perdict that we will all be sitting here wondering when clarke will retire and stressing the importance of youth.

Posted by Winsome on (February 27, 2012, 9:23 GMT)

Got to agree with other Aus fans. WA have had Mitch Marsh skippering pre-season matches and they will probably groom him to be state captain. In about four years you would hope that he has done enough hard yards to play for Australia in more than one form. The talent is certainly there.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2012, 9:10 GMT)

Based on current form, Peter Forrest. They've bought him in to the ODI team purely on Shield performances to hold down a top order spot, and even number 3 in Ponting's absence, and he's been stand-in captain for Queensland most of the year. They've already touted him as a potential Test player, and frankly I think he'd probably be one of our better options. Throw in Wade as a chirpy sledging vice-captain from the behind the stumps would make for a good show. Little worried that Alex mentioned the S-word though, surely Steve Smith would be miles off international selection, let alone test captaincy.

Posted by Okakaboka on (February 27, 2012, 7:16 GMT)

Well yes, this is a very important thing to consider. I agree with those suggesting it could come from Matty Wade. Massive potential with this guy. I also have observed how busy he is...directing traffic..errrr...fielders.....praising their efforts ....praising bowlers.... He is great! Why do you think Doherty has improved? He doesn't have old doom & gloom behind the stumps...Haddin gave Doherty negative vibes. Wade will get better behind the stumps.... You can see the cogs turning as he adapts to the elite level. His batting yesterday was classy and 'safe'. He may turn out to be just as effective as Gilchist...we can all hope....and at the moment...probably our ONLY option of a future captain.

Posted by landl47 on (February 27, 2012, 6:46 GMT)

The real problem is that Australia has no batsmen and no slow bowlers coming through. Guys like Cowan, Forrest and Marsh are journeymen who can make a few against popgun attacks but won't be able to handle England or South Africa. Lyon would be about 7th or 8th on the England list and he's the best slow bowler Australia has. Once Ponting and Hussey are gone, there's no heart to the Australian order at all. I like Clarke and I think he's a good captain, but his back has always been a problem. If he goes down, and he's almost 31 now, who steps in? This little burst of form by Australia is masking big problems. This is not a good side and it doesn't look like getting better any time soon.

Posted by jazzaaaaaaaa on (February 27, 2012, 6:10 GMT)

I normally agree with Ian Chappell but on this ocassion I'm not sure what his point is. Clarke just took over as captain. A successor isn't always going to pop up immediately after the previous successor just became captain. He is right about young batsman being selected at age 20, but when we do select these guys and they have a few failures, they get dropped. It must be remembered, sure when Ponting/Waugh era, we had shield captains such as Langer, Lehmann and Warne in the side, plus other experienced players. But they werent shield captains until about age 30 and guys like Hayden, Langer, Martyn and Ponting all got selected initially at about 20-21, but they got dropped and didnt come back until they were 27, 28, 29. Lehmann didnt get a regular spot in the Aus side until he was about 32.

Posted by inswing on (February 27, 2012, 3:54 GMT)

Captaincy is overrated. You just need someone who has a secure place in the side, is not very controversial, and has average cricketing sense. Such a person (e.g., Ponting before last 5 years) will be hailed as a great captain if there are a few great players in the team and the team wins because of them. They will be replaced if the team is bad and hence cannot win (e.g., Ponting in the last 5 years). Don't worry about finding a captain, worry about finding great players.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2012, 3:35 GMT)

Thought provoking as usual Ian , however time is on our side . ( assuming Clarke's form and fitness hold up)

Posted by zenboomerang on (February 27, 2012, 3:13 GMT)

@smudgeon & @Boba_Fett... Re: Tim Paine - he is already back training & should be playing grade cricket next weekend... Already has put his hand up for the Aust A team tour this winter & will be likely to be playing in the Darwin comp over winter as well - he couldn't get a County gig due to the timing of his surgery & the recovery time... He may even play for Tassie if they get far enough in the SS comp - Paine mentioned this on Saturday 25feb2011...

Posted by zenboomerang on (February 27, 2012, 3:11 GMT)

I've got to agree with nearly all the comments, lots of time to worry about future captains - 3 or 4 years... There are possibly 10 candidates playing at international & domestic level that could fill that role in the future... Australia is in a rebuilding phase within the team & many potential captains will come along with the new players... Ponting & Huss will be gone by then & who knows where our top order will be at in 3 years...

Posted by Mary_786 on (February 27, 2012, 2:21 GMT)

Warner should be captain and if not Warner then Khawaja would be the ideal choice for captain, he has the right temperament and experience to take this role, but i doubt our selectors are willing to give the most important leadership role in the country to player with a sub continent background.

Posted by Meety on (February 27, 2012, 0:24 GMT)

@smudgeon - I think Watto was selected as a "potential" captain, despite being a similar age to Clarke, because Clarke also has a question mark over his fitness. Clarke has a back problem that has no guarantee that it won't flare up & they will need someone to step in at short notice, like Punter did earlier this year. I think however, you have almost answered the question, as Wade to me looks ideal. I know historically, keepers have been overlooked due to the amount of stuff they have to do during a game (makes them great vice captains), but Wade looks the next most likely candidate, I'd also throw in O'Keefe, he a) Lyon drops off & b) the slectors ever happen to stumble across his stats, although NSWs performances this year may leave a stain! == == == I think IC should of made reference to Paine being groomed & now out of the immediate reckoning.

Posted by Busie1979 on (February 26, 2012, 22:47 GMT)

This may be hypothetical because if Clarke follows Ponting's lead, he will be there for the next 6-7 years. There will be plenty of time to appoint a successor. Out of the current group, I think the best guy is Peter Siddle. There is no reason it must be a batsman. Siddle provides really good energy in the field, has a strong work ethic as a bowler, provides high energy, exudes confidence, is happy to lead from the front or take the old ball, and is a handy lower order batsman. He has a good relationship with the media and seems to be popular amongst the team.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2012, 21:47 GMT)

I'm not sure the Aus nation would accept kawaja as captain. Sad to say the reason is because he isn't white. One day i could see him as a true captain-prove me wrong Aussie powers that be!

Posted by   on (February 26, 2012, 21:05 GMT)

Damn. Let Clarke stay at the helm for some years, Chappell has started making castles in the air already!

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (February 26, 2012, 16:22 GMT)

why is mr chappel worrying about captaincy problem now ? that should be the last thing australia has to worry.. what they really has to fix is their test batting line up.. peter forrest , usman khawaja , and of course shaun marsh will have to step up and prove they belong at the highest level , all these guys are showing promise but they have to fill the big shoes of ricky ponting and hussey in the long term

Posted by bobagorof on (February 26, 2012, 14:48 GMT)

This issue is another that has been made more problematic by the continued selection of ageing batsmen like Ponting and Hussey. While I believe they are worth their place in the side as long as they perform, it does mean that there is one (or two) less spot(s) available for a younger player and hence there are less younger players to select from when casting around for 'the next captain'. In 2-3 years or so there will be a few more candidates available. Right now I think that Peter Forrest is a good chance to make the Test side if he can continue his recent form, and he is a few years younger than Clarke so may be in the mix for the captaincy. Khawaja is also in the right age bracket and should be looked at again if/when he regains form. Steve O'Keefe has long been ignored by the selectors, yet has one of the best records for a spin bowler in FC. If he can learn from his debut season as captain he could be a useful prospect too.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2012, 13:30 GMT)

Nic Maddinson or Mitch Marsh will be in the team at some point. They could easily be groomed for the job. If Khawaja gets back in the team he might also be able to captain, ditto Steve Smith.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2012, 11:10 GMT)

who cares who the next captain is, Clarke only just started and when he is injured then watson is the fill in captain, there is no need to look for the next captain anytime soon, focus on selecting the best XI and getting some youngsters thru forget captaincy. Now one might say warner is a future captain, but who knows a new youngster might come thru and he might be a more suitable captain, u can never predict these things too early, let it happen in due course.

Posted by wix99 on (February 26, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

Pick the best eleven players and then select a captain from the team. It's not rocket science. There will always be someone in the team who can take on the job.

Posted by balajik1968 on (February 26, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

Interesting point about Matthew Wade. But he is a wicket keeper, and teams world over have generally been loathe to appoint keepers. The few exceptions I can think of are Alec Stewart, Gilchrist who stood in for Ponting, and Dhoni. As for Pakistan I think Moin Khan, Rashid Latif and Wasim Bari have led the team, but Pakistan has an extraordinary revolving door system for captaincy.

Posted by takenaback on (February 26, 2012, 8:20 GMT)

Yet another prediction from Ian Chappell, I guess he is being paid to do so. I wouldn't worry about the captaincy so much as the captain after Michael Clarke will have done his apprenticeship under him and should be a reasonable captain learning from such a good one.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2012, 7:37 GMT)

I think Ed Cowan is an ideal one, in tests.

Posted by mick82 on (February 26, 2012, 7:27 GMT)

@edassery - how do you figure clarke inherited a great team?? they sucked.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2012, 7:26 GMT)

Tim Paine, Mitch Marsh, George Bailey, Peter Forrest.

All contenders for the captaincy in the future, I can't see Watson ever being the test skipper for a long period maybe for a one off game if Clarke is injured. Warner will never be test captain maybe T20 but never the test captain. - he won't be in the test team in 12 months.

Posted by Lakpj on (February 26, 2012, 7:24 GMT)

@Dashgar Ponting's case is exceptional, he had a great team to captain. Even a puppet would have led that team to victory. It was that good. When he started loosing those great players. Gilchrist, Hayden. Langer, McGrath, Warne, Symonds , etc. his weaknesses started to expose. I think Clerke is a much better captain in that regard. Time will solve this issue by the time clerke steps downas Aus skipper there could be a good replacement or 2 for him.

Posted by ronnieb on (February 26, 2012, 7:19 GMT)

There was an article by Chappel predicting Clarke to be the next great batsman after Sachin, Ricky and Lara. Then there was another article predicting JP Duminy to be the next great batsman. Most of his articles are good but so far not that good job in predictions.

Posted by MisterObvious on (February 26, 2012, 7:13 GMT)

@stripehkitteh -- excellent call on Wadey. Chappell's a bit early on declaring it a captaincy crisis as Clarke will be around for 6-7 years, plenty of time for a potential strong young leader to rise up & show his mettle. But, yes, I like what I see in Wade. He's shown great maturity with the bat throughout the CB series, knuckling down when he needs to & belting them when required - something Warner has not shown in these ODIs, which is patience & judgement at the crease. I also like how how you can hear Wadey jabbering on the stump mic, giving the bowler encouragement EVERY ball. He's full of positivity. Like Warner, Watto doesn't look like captain stuff to me either. Far too prone to injury, for one thing, & a bit too loose & free personality-wise (I can still see him not so long ago looking like a total yobbo sledging on Chris Gayle after taking his wicket). No, I reckon Wadey's got real potential - he's definitely a keeper (pun intended).

Posted by Edassery on (February 26, 2012, 7:03 GMT)

Chappell is a typical example of those retired people always trying to pick on youngsters that get into fame too early (thanks to excess cricket and T20 etc). Clarke himself is just getting into full time job in two formats. Let him play for another four five years while Australia figures out a good stable candidate from the emerging players. I don't even know why David Warner is hyped so much as the future Aussie captain. He doesn't even get closer to stalwarts from the past like Mark Tailor, Allan Border or Steve Waugh. For that matter, he's not even anywhere near average captains like Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke who just flourished because of a great inherited team.

Posted by Riderstorm on (February 26, 2012, 6:20 GMT)

Why in a hurry Mr.chappell??? The current team is still rebuilding with some positive signs for the future. There are quite many spots up for grabs and over time when players own spots in the team, the next possible captain will emerge.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2012, 6:10 GMT)

i think its way to early to think about next captain as newly appointed Clarke is doing a fabulous job

Posted by Boba_Fett on (February 26, 2012, 6:06 GMT)

Tim Paine was always earmarked as a potential captain. Will be interesting to see what happens to him next season when he starts playing again...

Posted by Oldpunk on (February 26, 2012, 5:54 GMT)

No need to look to the future for the problem - it is already here. Clarke, Watson and Warner are the current brains trust -- very scary!!!

Posted by   on (February 26, 2012, 5:30 GMT)

ricky ponting should be included for finals of cb series

Posted by Dashgar on (February 26, 2012, 5:06 GMT)

Way too early for this sort of article. Clarke could be captain for 5 years at least. Who knows what the team will look like after that much time. David Warner, Matthew Wade, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Peter Forrest are all players beginning their international career. In 5 years the captain will probably be one of them or another like them. Aus will be fine. When Ponting started who would have ever thought he was captaincy material, but he won more tests as captain than any player in history.

Posted by FatBoysCanBat on (February 26, 2012, 5:05 GMT)

I don't really see this as an issue...Clarke is only 30 and will be the Australian captain for at least the next four years. In that time we might see the emergence of someone like Nic Maddinson or Joe Burns who both portray good leadership skills. Anyway, if this is not the case you have already mentioned the front-runner - David Warner. He is five years younger than Clarke and, should he be the next captain, will take over by the time he is 30-31...which is just older than what Clarke was when he took over from Ponting.

Posted by Naren on (February 26, 2012, 5:00 GMT)

That is a ridiculous theory from Ian Chappell. I am getting sick of his views. Shane Watson and David Warner both are capable of throwing their wickets away. But that is their style of play. I am not understanding why Warner has to moderate his strokeplay to be captain? That is his style of play. Probably he is not getting the scores because he is moderating himself. Nobody is capable of the kind of innings that Warner plays, so if they throw their wickets away he has more reason to admonish them. While writing this comment saw a reckless shot from Warner to get out..lol.. very unnecessary considering Australia was playing well.

Posted by stripykitteh on (February 26, 2012, 4:53 GMT)

Hopefully Clarke will be captain for at least another 5 years to give the team enough time to evolve and a new leader to emerge.

If not, perhaps the time will come when Clarke retires that the next Australian captain might be picked for his leadership skills like Mark Taylor was at the end of his career (though I know Chappelli would hate the idea).

Why not get Matthew Wade in the Test team now? He's 24 and if he makes the grade in Tests he will be experienced enough to be a candidate for captain when Clarke retires and young enough to do the job for a number of seasons.

Posted by smudgeon on (February 26, 2012, 4:52 GMT)

the good news is that Clarke is unlikely to be replaced or retire any time soon. plenty of time for a few younger domestic performers to develop the skills and qualities needed. i'm sure inverarity & co are well aware of this, and the current flux-state of the teams means there is an opportunity to give someone an understudy opportunity. i always wondered exactly why Watson was handed the vice captaincy - same age as Clarke, and more injury prone. i guess it's a Gilchrist situation: the able stand-in. i still think that if Paine can get himself out there and match-fit before next summer, he'd be a wise choice as a vice captain. only problem is, Haddin is sunk and Wade is looking pretty damn good behind the sticks right now. So - select for current form, or for future captaincy? interesting times...

Posted by Naren on (February 26, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

There is lack of leadership in the Australian team. That is an important reason why we need Ponting and Hussey in the test team for some more time. Clarke would not have many go to players other than Warner. Watson is pretty shaky. With Clarke's injury crisis, it may not be a surprise if Ponting captains in one of the matches in West Indies.

Posted by jonesy2 on (February 26, 2012, 4:44 GMT)

baha im sorry is there a point to this article? last time i checked michael clarke was the captain. next captain is mitchell marsh

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Ian Chappell Widely regarded as the best Australian captain of the last 50 years, Ian Chappell moulded a team in his image: tough, positive, and fearless. Even though Chappell sometimes risked defeat playing for a win, Australia did not lose a Test series under him between 1971 and 1975. He was an aggressive batsman himself, always ready to hook a bouncer and unafraid to use his feet against the spinners. In 1977 he played a lead role in the defection of a number of Australian players to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, which did not endear him to the administrators, who he regarded with contempt in any case. After retirement, he made an easy switch to television, where he has come to be known as a trenchant and fiercely independent voice.

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The sickening blow that struck Phillip Hughes is a reminder of the ever-present dangers associated with facing fast bowlers, even while wearing a helmet

Hope for Hughes, feel for Abbott

It is impossible to imagine how Sean Abbott must feel after sending down that bouncer to Phillip Hughes. While the cricket world hopes for Hughes' recovery, it should also ensure Abbott is supported

Dhawan's bouncer problem

Why the Indian opener would be well advised to shelve the hook and pull in Australia

News | Features Last 7 days

    November games need November prices (85)

    An early start to the international season, coupled with costly tickets, have kept the Australian public away from the cricket

    The inherent dangers of batting (43)

    The sickening blow that struck Phillip Hughes is a reminder of the ever-present dangers associated with facing fast bowlers, even while wearing a helmet

    A crisis that defines the age (40)

    Never mind cricket's absence from free-to-air TV - changes in social attitudes, the demands of work, and an individualistic age are all contributing to a decline in participation

    Misbah's Pakistan or Imran's Pakistan? (39)

    Pakistan have notched up some fine wins under Misbah-ul-Haq's leadership, but they haven't yet achieved consistent results outside the UAE

    Phillip Hughes: Country kid who moved a nation (35)

    Likeable, hard working and possessing skills that had him tagged as another great batsman in the making, it was a matter of time before Phillip Hughes cemented his spot in the Australian Test team. Then, improbably and inconsolably, his time ran out