Ponting back in the old routine
Ricky Ponting will lead Australia once again in Friday’s Commonwealth Bank Series one-day international against Sri Lanka in Sydney.
Less than a year after he stepped down as his country’s captain, Ponting has been selected as Australia’s stand-in skipper in the absence of Michael Clarke, who suffered a low-grade hamstring strain in Sunday’s defeat to India at the Adelaide Oval.
Clarke has been included in Australia’s squad for Sunday’s match against India in Brisbane, the second of two fixtures for which a 14-man squad has been named.
Brett Lee, who had previously been ruled out of the series with a broken toe, Ben Hilfenhaus and Mike Hussey have all been recalled, while Ryan Harris has been rested and Matthew Wade has retained the wicketkeeping gloves ahead of Brad Haddin.
After announcing the squad, national selector John Inverarity explained why the vastly experienced Ponting had been chosen as skipper ahead of vice-captain David Warner.
“David Warner is a young player making his way. He displays considerable leadership potential, but the National Selection Panel (NSP) is of the view that he should not, at this moment, have the added responsibility of captaincy thrust on him,” said Inverarity.
“David has been gaining valuable experience under Michael Clarke’s captaincy and now he will have the opportunity to grow his leadership skills further as vice-captain to Ricky Ponting.
“In making this decision the NSP reminded itself of the fact that Ricky Ponting led the winning Australian ICC Cricket World Cup teams in 2003 and 2007. The NSP appreciates the fact that Ricky is prepared to accept this responsibility in the wider interests of the team.”
Commenting on the make-up of the 14-man party, Inverarity added: “Some players are showing signs of fatigue after a demanding summer in which the Australian team has played with great intensity and purpose and performed with distinction.
“The NSP has omitted Ryan Harris for this reason and for the fact that he is carrying some minor niggles.
“The NSP has refreshed the squad with the inclusion of Brett Lee and Ben Hilfenhaus. Brett is making a good recovery from his toe injury and will be given rigorous fitness tests before Friday’s ODI fixture. As expected Michael Hussey returns to the squad.”
All-rounder Shane Watson remains on the sidelines, but will play a Bupa Shield game in Perth this week in a bid to prove his fitness.
Australia squad: Michael Clarke (captain), Ricky Ponting (captain for Friday’s ODI vs Sri Lanka), David Warner (vice-captain), Dan Christian, Xavier Doherty, Peter Forrest, Ben Hilfenhaus, David Hussey, Mike Hussey, Brett Lee, Mitchell Marsh, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade (wicketkeeper).