Ricky Ponting’s decision to retire from international ICC Twenty20 cricket is the latest sign that Australian cricket is going through big changes, but the plan is to ease Michael Clarke into the top job.
‘Punter’ has announced that he is stepping down from playing for his country in the shortest version of the game, after recently enduring a tough time in the 20-over format.
The Aussie skipper has scored a combined 27 runs in his last four international Twenty20 innings, a far cry from an unbeaten 98 in his opening appearance for his country in T20 – against New Zealand in 2005.
The 34-year-old stated: “I am hoping to continue playing Test cricket for as long as possible and retiring from the Twenty20 format gives me the best chance of doing this.”
More significantly though, it’s the first time that Australia will have split the international captaincy, with one eye on the future in the Test and one-day arenas.
The Australian selectors are well aware that Clarke is their only option to replace Ponting, when he finally decides to hang up his baggy green cap.
The man they call ‘Pup’ has already made a good start in a temporary captain’s position in the early stages of the ODI series in England, but the vice-captain will face a tough job when he finally takes full charge and will have to work hard in order to improve Australias betting odds.
Not only will Australia find it hard to replace Ponting as skipper, but his massive influence in the batting order will also leave a gaping hole at number three.
Despite Ashes defeat leaving the doubters fearing for Australia’s future, the men from Down Under have a uncanny knack of finding a suitable replacement. Let’s face it, Ponting has turned out to be a pretty good replacement for Steve Waugh!