Shane Warne wants Michael Clarke to succeed Adam Gilchrist as Ricky Ponting's deputy in all forms of the game after his strong performance as Twenty20 captain. The idea has been dismissed by Ponting, who said Clarke's opportunity for a full-time promotion would come if he maintained his standards of the past 12 months.
Admitting Clarke was one of his best mates, Warne said he was the standout candidate and now was the time to groom him. "The best way to do this would be to elevate him to the vice-captaincy in all forms of the game," Warne wrote in his Herald Sun column.
"Gilly has done a wonderful job but won't be around for too much longer in all forms of the game. I reckon he will hang the gloves up and decide to play only one form, probably Test matches."
Warne's relationship with Gilchrist is not strong and the wicketkeeper was rated 20th in Warne's top 50 players despite dominating for a decade. Gilchrist has said Clarke was not the only one who could replace Ponting when he eventually stepped down and Michael Hussey was another contender.
The appointment of Clarke for the Twenty20 win over New Zealand on Tuesday was a one-off, but Warne said he was ready for more senior responsibilities. "When you win the toss, hit the first ball you face for four and win the match in your first game as national skipper, you would have to think it's not a bad start," Warne said.
"He has all the attributes and the image, flair, confidence in his own ability, respect for the game and respect from his team-mates, which has been earned. He knows himself, understands his own game and is hungry for success." Warne also wants Clarke to be captain of New South Wales when he returns for occasional state games.
Ponting said Clarke had grown into a leader over the past year but there was no rush to fast-track him. "I don't necessarily agree with [Warne]," Ponting said in Adelaide. "I don't think that needs to be the case right now. Gilly's not going to play forever, we're all not going to play forever, but Michael's opportunity is going to come."
He expects Clarke will be his deputy in the future. "The day will come when Michael will get his opportunity," Ponting said. "It might not be right now, it might not be six months' time, but that opportunity will come and he will step into the vice-captain's role. Hopefully I can stay around for another few years and keep him out of my position for a bit longer."