Michael Clarke may have taken over the Australian captaincy from Ricky Ponting but he still considers his predecessor a key source of help.
Ponting quit as captain following Australia’s disappointing World Cup campaign, and his deputy, Clarke, has stepped up to fill the void. The Tasmanian has said he is happy to sit in the background and let Clarke run the show, but new skipper sees Ponting as a key member of the leadership group.
“Ricky’s advice has always been very helpful to me, whether that be as his deputy or now as the captain,” said Clarke.
“I’ve said openly to Ricky that his experience and knowledge of the game is something we [the team] will continue to need, especially me as an inexperienced captain. I’ve been fortunate enough to captain Australia in a few one dayers and Twenty20s, and one Test match, but his knowledge is going to be crucial to the team going forward.
“Our relationship has always been very strong on and off the field, and I’m certain that won’t change. It was good to see him make some runs, he looks in really good nick, after scoring that hundred against India in the recent World Cup. I’m confident he’ll come out tomorrow and score some more runs for us.”
Two areas in which Clarke is hoping to see improvement in during the upcoming series against Bangladesh are batsman making big scores and Cameron White’s bowling.
Ponting’s hundred against India in the World Cup quarter-final was there only one of the tournaments, and Clarke admits this statistic has to be improved
“When Australian one-day teams have had success, somebody in the top four has gone on to make a big score,” he said.
“We only scored one century through the World Cup, so we’ll be focussing on someone from the top order going on to make a big score in all three games [against Bangladesh].
The subject of White is a tricky one; the 27-year-old made his Test debut for Australia in 2008 as a leg-spinner, a move that did not work out well, with White’s confidence in his bowling degenerating to the point that he stopped bowling completely and when called to do so in last year’s T20 Champions League, he reverted to bowling seamers.
White bowled for Australia for the first time since August 2009 on Thursday when he sent down four overs against a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI, and Clarke is keen to see the Victorian start bowling more frequently.
“I would love to [get him bowling again], I think he’s got plenty of talent, not only with the bat but with the ball as well [though] he hasn’t bowled much of late for Australia,” said the skipper.
“He bowled [four overs] yesterday and bowled really well, so I think his bowling can play a big part going forward in Australia in the shorter form of the game, and I thought yesterday was a good opportunity to get a few overs under his belt.
“I think giving him an opportunity is probably a good start [to building his confidence],” he said. “He’s certainly got the talent, now it’s about getting some overs under his belt so he gradually builds that confidence back in his bowling.
“Whitey is an all-rounder, he is a batsman who can certainly bowl for us; it’s just about now giving him the opportunity.”
Australia and Bangladesh begin their three-match ODI series on Saturday. Cricket365