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April 16, 2009
Ricky Ponting has revealed his mixed feelings about handing over the one-day captaincy to Michael Clarke for the upcoming series against Pakistan. Ponting said the time was right for him to take a break ahead of the World Twenty20 and the Ashes but it still took some getting used to giving away the reins of his side.
Clarke has captained Australia in six one-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches and he was in charge for the whole series against Bangladesh last year in Darwin. However, it is the first time he will be given command of the squad for a full overseas tour and the two-week trip should be a steep learning curve for Australia's leader-in-waiting.
"Yes and no," Ponting told AAP when asked if he had regrets about giving up the captaincy for the whole tour. "I think I've come to grips with it over the last 12 months anyway. It has happened a number of times in a couple of one-day games and a couple of Twenty20 games that I've missed. It's nothing new for me. For a whole series is something a little different.
"Pup [Clarke] is learning all the time about the role and the different things that come with the role. For him to get that added experience as well will hold him in good stead down the track. I don't worry about it. If I felt that I could go and play well, then I'd be going. But right at the moment I feel like I need to get away and have a bit of a break, so that's the way it is."
Australia fly straight from South Africa to Dubai for the Pakistan series, which begins with a one-day international next Wednesday. But first they are aiming to finish their current ODI series on a high in Johannesburg on Friday after South Africa took an unassailable 3-1 lead on Monday.
Personally, Ponting is searching for a big score in the finale at the Wanderers, where he has a phenomenal average of 123.66 from four ODIs having made centuries in his most recent two games there. His efforts this series have been more humble, although he began to find form with 53 in Port Elizabeth on Monday after scoring a combined total of 65 in the first three matches.
"For me, it has been in the back of my mind all the time," Ponting said. "I take a lot of pride in my performance and the team's performance. We can't win the series now but we can certainly win our last game and it's a chance for me to make a big score and hopefully the team to play well. If we do that, it will give the guys some extra confidence going to Dubai."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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