Melbourne: Two-time World Cup winning captain Ricky Ponting feels Michael Clarke is the right man to lead Australia at the cricket World Cup but says he should relinquish ODI captaincy after the mega-event.
“I believe that the right time for Michael to hand over the one-day captaincy to Steven will be after the conclusion of this World Cup,” Ponting said.
“In Michael’s body and mind he may only have another two or three years left at Test level, and I think it would be a good time for Steven to take over the one-day job and Michael to remain as Test captain.
“This would give Smithy a bit more of a chance to get used to the idea of captaining his country long-term.”
However, Ponting also said he has no doubt that Clarke is the best man to lead Australia to World Cup glory.
“At the same time, I am firm in believing that Michael is the right man to lead the team through this World Cup campaign,” Ponting wrote in his column for a cricket website.
“A tournament at home, with favouritism mounting, is a lot of pressure to be under, and I am very confident about Michael’s capacity to handle that given his years of experience and success.
“Smithy will be a fine ODI captain in time, but the next six weeks should be Michael’s moment to chart the team to his own Cup success,” said the three-time World Cup winner.
Sharing his experience of leading the Australian team, Ponting said Smith has impressed in the limited opportunities he had got but advocated a slow and steady approach to captaincy for him.
Talking about the year ahead, he said: “I think that’s the way things will go this year, meaning Michael can concentrate fully on the task of beating West Indies at home and then retaining the Ashes in England.
“Smithy will hopefully make a heap of runs in those series, and then be able to lead the ODI team as it builds towards the 2017 Champions Trophy in England.”
The 40-year-old said Clarke will be in a best position to prepare for Tests, specially the Ashes series, if he retires from the one-day format.
“Retiring from one-day games will also allow Michael’s body regular rest and recovery periods, something that has effectively taken place numerous times already as he has sat out a lot of ODI series,” he said.