Sport » Cricket

Updated: August 28, 2009 13:24 IST

Clarke backs Ponting over Ashes loss

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Michael Clarke. Photo: K.R. Deepak
Michael Clarke. Photo: K.R. Deepak

Ricky Ponting may be open to the idea of split captaincy after an Ashes loss but his deputy Michael Clarke does not feel leadership was a matter of worry in the Australian cricket team at this stage.

“I see Ricky as our leader, I don’t think it’s something we have to worry about at this stage,” Clarke said.

“Punt’s playing fantastic cricket in all forms of the game, I think his series in the Ashes was very good once again. To me, we don’t have to worry about that because Ricky is our captain,” he was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

“I’ve learnt a hell of a lot from Ricky already, since I’ve played international cricket and especially since I’ve been vice-captain. I hope that relationship continues, the relationship is very good. He is someone I look up to,” he added.

Clarke, who is in-charge of the Australian ODI team in the absence of Ponting who returns to England for the last four of seven one-dayers, said he was “more than happy to continue playing under him”.

“I’m blessed to get this opportunity when he’s not here to get that fill-in role, but Punter’s our leader and I’m more than happy to continue playing under him. In my opinion he’s certainly one of the best leaders I’ve played under,” Clarke said.

The Australian vice-captain Clarke also felt it was unfair to single out Ponting because the entire squad had accepted responsibility for the 2-1 loss to England.

“I think the criticism needs to go to the team, and we all need to accept that. But I know it’s not one person’s fault. Ricky’s been a fantastic leader throughout my whole career. I thought he was inspirational at times during this Ashes series, he wanted to win as much as anybody.

“The one thing Punt’s always said is that it’s part of the responsibility as a leader and as a senior player, we are going to be more responsible if we don’t perform.

“That’s another great strength of Ricky’s: he does cop it on the chin. He never lets that get in the way of his leadership. It’s obviously part of the job, it’s part of being a senior player in any good sporting team,” he said.

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