ICC World Twenty20 2010 May 13, 2010

Warne backs Clarke as Twenty20 captain

Cricinfo staff

Shane Warne has thrown his support behind Michael Clarke as captain of Australia's Twenty20 team despite Clarke's own struggles with the bat. Warne believes Clarke's record as the leader of the side - in 13 games he has never led his side to defeat - is ample justification for him being in the starting line-up.

As a batsman, Clarke has battled to adjust to the tempo of the shortest format and is averaging 12 at the World Twenty20. However, he has captained an unbeaten Australia into the semi-finals after they bowed out in the first round last year, and Warne was impressed with Clarke's leadership.

"At the moment he is captain of the Twenty20 side and he is doing a bloody good job," Warne told AAP. "I think they are playing a good brand of cricket. I think what you are seeing is him maturing - he is becoming a good leader and good player."

Clarke has been praised for his attacking captaincy in the Caribbean, where he has backed his aggressive fast men and the legspinner Steven Smith, giving them fields that target wickets and not just containment. The former captain Steve Waugh said Clarke fully deserved his place in the side.

"Form's temporary, class is permanent," Waugh said in the Australian. "He's a good enough player to adapt to that form of the game. I don't see that as a big issue right now. A lot of people are saying he needs to up the ante but if he's encouraging players around him and getting the best out of them that's great for the team. He scores quick enough in my mind to be successful at T20."

Of the 40 leading run scorers in Twenty20 internationals, Clarke has the lowest strike-rate of 102.07 and he has also comfortably struck the fewest boundaries among that group. However, none of the leading captains in Twenty20 internationals come close to his winning ratio of 95.83%.