Ponting is an amazing cricketer, says Clarke

May 31st, 2009 - 4:37 pm ICT by IANS  

London, May 31 (IANS) Australia’s cricket vice-captain Michael Clarke has showered fulsome praise on his captain Ricky Ponting underscoring his energy and enthusiasm.
Making light of Ponting’s recent results and his own form, Clarke said the Australia captain remained at the top of his game as both player and leader.

Since mid-October, Ponting has averaged a meagre 36.1 in Tests and has presided over five defeats that in any other Australian era would each be regarded as a catastrophe - by 320 runs and 172 runs to India; by six wickets, nine wickets, and an innings and 20 runs to South Africa, reports The Times.

Clarke also expressed the surprising hope that Ponting, who at 34 is six years older than his deputy, would lead Australia for the rest of Clarke’s career. “I’m definitely not ready yet with the captain we’ve got,” Clarke said.

“Ricky is an amazing cricketer. There are not too many around today as good a player as him or as good a leader.

“One of his strengths is that he can not only lead someone like Shane Warne, an all-time great spin bowler, but also Phil Hughes, a 20-year-old kid playing Test cricket for the first time. He’s been one of Australia’s great leaders and is keen to continue playing. I think he has got a long time yet left in all forms of the game.”

Clarke added that English audiences should not underestimate this Australian team just because it contained some unfamiliar names.

“It’s been a long time since the likes of Warne and McGrath were playing and we, as a team, have moved well and truly beyond that. We will never be able to replace those guys but we are not trying to either. It has given new guys an opportunity and those who had theirs in South Africa really made the most of it. If we play the cricket we know we might surprise a few English fans.”

Clarke, like Ponting, declined to predict an Ashes scoreline.

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