'Pup' Clarke in no hurry to be top dog

Abu Dhabi, Sun, 03 May 2009 ANI

Abu Dhabi (UAE), May 3 (ANI): Stand -in Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke has enhanced his status with a one-day series victory against Pakistan, but says that he is in no hurry to inherit the job permanently from incumbent Ricky Ponting.

 

An unbeatable 3-1 lead against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, culminating in his unbeaten century in Abu Dhabi on Friday night, has enhanced his position beyond doubt, but Clarke says he looks forward to Ponting's return at the helm of affairs.

 

Clarke has hardly put a foot wrong with his captaincy. He has kept team spirits high despite the pressure they faced after being skittled by Pakistan's spinners in the series-opener to continue what had been a disappointing recent one-day record.

 

He has had to manage pacemen being rotated in and out of the side on spin-friendly pitches and draw the best from a squad with numerous stars on the comeback trail and several other players new to international cricket.

 

His field placements and bowling changes have mostly worked beautifully, most notably in game three when Australia engineered a Pakistan collapse of 10-76 to snatch a pivotal win.

 

Clarke was also in charge last time Australia won a one-day series, against Bangladesh in Darwin last September.

 

"Every single time I get the chance to captain Australia I love it, it's wonderful. But for me it's about playing as well, it's about being in this team. The feeling in the group this whole tour has been wonderful," The Age quoted Clarke, as saying.

 

"It's not about the captaincy for me, I've enjoyed it, don't get me wrong, but I can't wait to get our skipper back. I've always said and I'll continue to say I hope he's my captain for the rest of my career, because if that's the case our No.3 batter is a brilliant player," he added.

 

Coach Tim Nielsen said Clarke's "brilliant" efforts confirmed his status as a team leader, regardless of the captaincy tag.

 

"It's confirmed for everybody what we thought we knew. He's had success in the past when he'd filled in for Ricky as a captain, both in Twenty20 and one-day cricket, and we were very confident he would have success as a leader here," Nielsen said.

 

Clarke said while thankful for the leadership experience, the series win outweighed any personal gains.

 

Australia will be looking to continue their winning streak in Sunday's dead rubber in Abu Dhabi. (ANI)

 



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