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Ponting to captain Australia in Clarke's absence

Mohit Singh, February 15 2012,
Dave Warner made to wait his chance
Ponting replaces Clarke as the skipper
Ponting replaces Clarke as the skipper
Veteran Australian batsman and former captain Ricky Ponting has been given the skipper’s role again by the Australian Cricket board and he will stand in as the team’s leader in the absence of the injured Michael Clarke.

Ponting’s selection for the job looked obvious as there was no other choice left for the selectors. Vice-captain Shane Watson is yet to make his comeback after recovering from a calf injury and senior player Brad Haddin has been left out of the ODI squad.

Cricket Australia’s chief selector announced: “After careful consideration the selection panel has asked Ricky Ponting if he would captain the Australian ODI team in Michael Clarke's absence.

“The panel appreciates the fact that Ricky is prepared to accept this responsibility in the wider interests of the team.”

The 37-year-old is expected to lead the side at least for the game against Sri Lanka on Friday assuming that Clarke, who picked up a hamstring injury in the four-wicket loss to India, will be back for the next match against India this Sunday.

But, there is a possibility of that role extending for long as Australia’s team physio has not assured of Clarke’s recovery in time. Ponting will captain the Australian team for the first time after the quarter-final defeat at the hands of India in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup.

There are concerns whether he will be able to deliver his best yet again in this role as comparisons are being made with his first stint as the Australian skipper, when he mesmerized the cricket world with his leadership by winning back-to-back World Cups in 2003 and 2007.

The sudden change in fortune for Ponting has come after a tough period, which was full of criticism by cricket experts. It was only when he played big knocks against India in the recent Test series that he was able to shut the mouths of his critics, thus proving that he still had a lot cricket left inside him.

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