Clarke - Ricky is my leader

Stand-in dismisses talk of shared captaincy

Last Updated: 27/08/09 11:14pm

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Clarke: Only wants one leader

Clarke: Only wants one leader

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Michael Clarke has said he is against the idea of a split Australia captaincy, even though Ricky Ponting has admitted he is now open to the possibility.

Critics of the current incumbent have questioned whether, in the wake of Australia's Ashes defeat, Ponting might hand over responsibility, in limited overs cricket at least, to his vice-captain Clarke.

Ponting made his admission when he arrived back in Sydney this week - an apparent about-turn after he said earlier this year he wanted to lead his country at the 2011 World Cup.

The 34-year-old has returned Down Under for a two-week break before rejoining his team-mates for the latter part of their forthcoming ODI series against England, with Clarke standing in as captain.

His first game in charge comes against Scotland on Friday and, speaking in Edinburgh, Clarke dismissed suggestions the workload could be split.

When asked about the possibility, he simply replied: "No".

Clarke then gave his full backing to Ponting, adding: "At this stage, we only have one leader and, in my opinion Punter (Ponting) is my captain.

"I've only had one captain in my career. Ricky is my leader.

"It's very unfair for one guy to be criticised.

"Yes, he's our captain, he's our leader, but one of Punter's greatest strengths is he never complains about that.

"The reality is the whole team lost the series. Every player in the squad takes some sort of responsibility.

"It's not one guy's fault."

Opportunity

Clarke also said the Scotland match was a good opportunity for the tourists to starting putting their Ashes defeat behind them.

David Warner, Callum Ferguson and Tim Paine have been added to the side, the latter set to make his international debut as wicketkeeper after Brad Haddin was ruled out because of the broken finger he sustained in the third Test.

"The feeling is looking forward to moving on," Clarke said.

"There's some new players around the place so hopefully they can refresh us and help us along. Certainly it's a good opportunity for them to impress with a World Cup on the horizon."

Clarke also expects paceman Brett Lee to have a point to prove after a side injury last month ultimately ruined his Ashes ambitions.

Lee had recovered in time for the final two Tests, but was overlooked and Clarke expects him to be raring to go at the Citylets Grange.

"Brett will be keen as mustard," Clarke said.

"He's disappointed not to have taken part in the Test series, but has contributed a lot throughout the series. He's itching to go."

Meanwhile, Scotland captain Gavin Hamilton said he expected to feel the full force of the tourists following their defeat south of the border.

"On the back of the Ashes loss the last thing they'll want to do is come out unsuccessful from this one," he said.

"We're expecting a full backlash from them."

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