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Updated: November 11, 2009 11:16 IST

Ponting’s retirement will leave a big hole: Hilditch

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Australia's selector Andrew Hilditch. File Photo: Hindu Archives
The Hindu Australia's selector Andrew Hilditch. File Photo: Hindu Archives

Ricky Ponting’s retirement in the next few years will have a similar “dramatic” impact on the Australian cricket which was witnessed after spin legend Shane Warne’s retreat, feels chief selector Andrew Hilditch.

Hailing Ponting’s “exceptional” leadership qualities, the National Selection Panel Chairman said it will be extremely difficult for anyone to fit into the shoes of Ponting.

“When we lose Ricky Ponting it will be as dramatic an impact as Shane Warne. Ricky’s shoes are massive shoes to fill. He has been a really strong man, really positive around the group,” Hilditch said.

“You can talk tactics all you want but in the end the captain is the person who has got to mould the side and make it a winning team. Ricky has done that exceptionally well,” he was quoted as saying by the ‘Courier Mail’

Australia have been struggling to find a class spinner ever since Warne hung his boot in 2006. From Stuart McGill to Nathan Haurtiz they have tried a number of tweakers but no one has looked like even a shadow of Warne.

Hilditch said Michael Clarke’s elevation as the skipper of the national Twenty20 team will help them assess his leadership skills.

“The lucky thing is that Michael has got an opportunity in Twenty20 cricket to run a tournament. We have now got a six-month build-up for the next Twenty20 World Cup and he knows he is captain. It is a big moment for him.

“It is really good that he gets that opportunity so we get a good chance to assess whether he is the next person to do it in all forms of the game,” Hilditch said.

Hilditch though made it clear that mere cricketing skills won’t be sufficient to earn the captain’s cap.

“Tactically I think he is an excellent captain. There are other issues that you have got to get on top of if you want to do the job. It’s dealing with the pressure of the media and dealing with the pressure of managing your players who are going through difficult times away from their families.

“It is about playing in different conditions where everything is going wrong and the training conditions aren’t what you want. It’s about getting up every day and leading by example,” he said.

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