RICKY PONTING has praised Australia captain Michael Clarke’s maturing captaincy as his successor embarks upon his mission to return Australian cricket to its former glory.
Under Ponting’s leadership Australia’s dominance of world cricket waned, due to a retirement of a number of stars and poor performance that bottomed out with Australia’s humiliating 3-1 Ashes defeat two summers ago.
But with a new look side and last season’s 4-0 hammering of India behind them; confidence is high in the Australia camp ahead of a testing summer against South Africa and Sri Lanka and upcoming tours of India and England.
And Ponting said it was due in no small part to Clarke’s captaincy.
“I think Michael has done everything in his power to be the best player and the best leader he can be,” Ponting said.
“And you only have to look at the way he has played since he became captain to understand that the responsibility sits pretty well with him.”
Clarke’s batting has gone from strength to strength since he took the reins from Ponting after Australia’s disastrous Ashes campaign in 2010/11, as evidenced by a triple hundred and double hundred against India last summer.
Likewise Australia’s cricketing fortunes have been reinvigorated under Clarke. And credit must go to Ponting for the role he has played in the seamless transition of leadership.
“Michael has led the team really well and as a player playing under another captain now I just want to do the best that I can for him and for the Australian cricket team,” Ponting said.
“I have tried to play a part in that, I have tried to help where ever I can, whether that is with his cricket or his leadership or the amount of time we spend together away from the game.”
By James MacSmith