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Ponting to captain in Clarke's absence

Agencies
Feb 14, 2012 at 02:03pm IST

Sydney: Former captain Ricky Ponting will lead Australia again for one limited-overs international to deputize for the injured Michael Clarke.

Clarke strained his right hamstring in Sunday's four-wicket loss to India and isn't available for Friday's tri-series match against Sri Lanka.

With Shane Watson out injured and Brad Haddin being rested after his stint as vice-captain during the 4-0 Test series win over India, Australia selectors decided to return Ponting to the helm for a match rather than put too much burden on up-and-coming opening batsman David Warner.

Ponting to captain in Clarke's absence

Clarke, though, was included on Tuesday in the 14-man squad for the next two ODIs.

Ponting led Australia to back-to-back World Cup titles in 2003 and 2007 before standing down after the quarter-final exit last year.

Clarke was included on Tuesday in the 14-man squad for the next two ODIs and is expected to be fit for Sunday's match against India at Brisbane.

"After careful consideration, (selectors) asked Ricky Ponting if he would captain the Australian ODI team in Michael Clarke's absence," selection panel chief John Inverarity said. "David Warner is a young player making his way. He displays considerable leadership potential, but (the selection panel) is of the view that he should not, at this moment, have the added responsibility of captaincy thrust on him."

"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."

"Michael Clarke will not be considered for the ODI in Sydney this Friday due to a low-grade hamstring strain. The medical staff are hopeful that Michael will be fit to play in Brisbane on Sunday. Hence he has been included in the squad."

Inverarity said the selectors were grateful to the 37-year-old Ponting for being prepared to "accept this responsibility in the wider interests of the team."

Haddin has been omitted from the squad again, with Matthew Wade hanging onto his place as wicketkeeper and batsman. Fast bowler Brett Lee was recalled to the squad after a faster than expected recovery from a broken bone in his right foot and Ryan Harris has been rested as selectors persist with a rotation policy for the pacemen.

"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 National Selection Panel has omitted Ryan Harris for this reason and for the fact that he is carrying some minor niggles," Inverarity said.

Lee had initially been ruled out of the series after he broke a bone in his foot earlier this month and was expected to take up to six weeks to recover.

"Brett is making a good recovery from his toe injury and will be given rigorous fitness tests before Friday's ODI fixture."

Former Test captain Steve Waugh said he could not understand why selectors chose Ponting as the stand-in skipper ahead of Warner.

"If David Warner is in there as vice-captain, I assume they think he's leadership material and if he's vice-captain, why can't he captain the side as well?" Waugh told reporters.

"Ricky will do it blindfolded but the future is probably David Warner, so I'm surprised they didn't go to Warner."

Waugh said Haddin's position also needed to be clarified by the selectors.

"I was surprised when they said he was rested, he basically said he was dropped," Waugh said. "There's mixed messages there."

"If he's rested, why doesn't he come back in and be the captain? He's the vice-captain of the Test side, so there was the opportunity for maybe Brad to captain the one-day team. But obviously, he's having an enforced rest. I'm not sure what it is but it's a bit confusing."

Australia squad: Michael Clarke (captain), Ricky Ponting (captain for Friday's ODI), 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.

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