Ponting goes in to bat for embattled Clarke

Last Updated: May 18, 2010, 11:48 AM IST

Sydney: Australia Test skipper Ricky Ponting has praised Michael Clarke’s Twenty20 captaincy despite the player’s own assessment that his position in the team was in doubt after poor form with the bat in the Caribbean.

Clarke led Australia to the final at the World Cup, but finished the tournament with a high score of 27 and the lowest average of Australia’s specialist batsmen.

“He’s had a bit of exposure now, a few one-day games that I haven’t been a part of and obviously a lot of the Twenty20 games in the last 12 or 18 months that he’s stepped in and captained he’s done a terrific job,” Ponting, who retired from the shorter format last year in a bid to prolong his career, told reporters.

“Every time that I’ve seen Michael in a leadership role he’s done exceptionally well. So, really good signs there for the future of Australian cricket going forward.”

Clarke is regarded as Ponting’s successor in one-day internationals and Test cricket, and told reporters that he expected selectors to “have a look” at his captaincy and place in the team after Australia’s loss to arch rivals England.

Ponting will lead Australia when they attempt to wrest back the Ashes from England at home at the end of the year and is hoping the team can arrange Test matches against India before that series to get more practice in the longer format.

Top-ranked India had suggested sacrificing some one-day internationals in favour of Tests as part of a mooted tour in October.

Australia have reacted positively to the offer, knowing they only have two Tests arranged against Pakistan in July before their five-Test series against England kicks off in November.

“It looks like that tour of India now might be broken up into a few one-dayers and a couple of Test matches,” Ponting said.

“Ideally for us it would be great if the Test matches were played second in India before we get back to Australia for the start of the Ashes but we’ll wait and see how that itinerary works itself out.”

Bureau Report