Michael Clarke takes over as Australia captain
Wednesday 30 March 2011
New Australia captain Michael Clarke insists his predecessor Ricky Ponting will not be "the elephant in the dressing room" as he tries to put his own stamp on the team.
Clarke, who turns 30 on Saturday, was today confirmed as Test and one-day skipper in succession to Ponting, who stood down following Australia's World Cup elimination.
His first duty as permanent skipper will be to lead an Australia side containing Ponting - now free to concentrate on his batting - into an ODI series in Bangladesh next month.
Clarke is determined to do things his own way but is confident the presence of a player with Ponting's stature in the game will not prove a hindrance to him.
Asked if Ponting could be "the elephant in the dressing room", Clarke said: "I don't think Ricky is an elephant in any room.
"I know he'll let me do my job to the best of my ability.
"I have a very good working relationship with Punter and I'm confident that if he can continue to play as well as he has done for such a long time I'm certain it can work."
Clarke, whose vice-captain will be Shane Watson, accepts he has never been the most popular player among Australian cricket fans but believes he can win over his doubters.
"I don't know the exact reasons why it's there but it is and I've had it probably my whole career," Clarke said of his perceived lack of popularity.
"So I certainly don't sit here and think that I can get the whole of this country to like me, people are always going to have their own views but for me it's about respect.
"It's about earning that respect, leading the team in the right way, playing cricket in the right manner and hopefully I can earn the respect of the doubters that are out there."
While Ponting is now free to focus on his batting, Clarke hopes the added responsibility of captaincy will bring about an improvement in his game.
"I think in the games I've played where I've had the chance to captain Australia I think my form has been pretty good or it's made me step up," Clarke added.
"And that's probably another thing that Ricky has certainly taught me, to be leading from the front on the field is so important in this great Australian team and that's obviously one of my main goals."
Australia's squad for Bangladesh shows changes to the group which travelled to the World Cup, where defeat to India ended their campaign in the quarter-finals.
With Shaun Tait quitting one-day internationals after the tournament, the selectors have brought in James Pattinson, a 20-year-old pace bowler who plays state cricket for Victoria, while David Hussey missed out for family reasons and Xavier Doherty returns.
Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said: "Xavier Doherty has come into the squad for Jason Krejza.
"Xavier was not considered for the ICC Cricket World Cup because of a nagging back injury. Jason bowled well in the World Cup, but now Xavier has recovered from injury he deserves to come back into the squad."
Cameron White has been confirmed as captain of Australia's Twenty20 side.
Australia squad for tour of Bangladesh: Michael Clarke (captain), Shane Watson (vice-captain), Xavier Doherty, Callum Ferguson, Brad Haddin, John Hastings, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Ricky Ponting, Steve Smith, Cameron White.
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