Melbourne, Feb 11:
Australia’s two-time World Cup-winning skipper Ricky Ponting Wednesday advised regular captain Michael Clarke to retire from One-Day International (ODI) cricket to help in the smooth transition of captaincy to Steven Smith.
Australia’s World Cup campaign starts against England Saturday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) here.
Clarke’s preparations for the mega-event has been hampered by persistent injury problems raising doubts over his limited overs career and his ability to lead the co-hosts to a record-stretching fifth title.
However, he scored 64 against the United Arab Emirates Wednesday and looked in no visible discomfort raising the prospect of being match-fit to captain the team.
Ponting also said the 33-year-old Clarke should continue to be the leader of the Test team.
“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 was quoted as saying by espncricinfo.com Wednesday.
“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.”
Ponting also believes that Clarke has two or three years of cricket still left in him and should quit the One-Day game at an opportune moment.
“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,” he said.
“This would give Smithy a bit more of a chance to get used to the idea of captaining his country long-term,” Ponting, an integral member of the 1999, 2003, 2007 World Cup-winning team, added.
“At the same time, I am firm in believing that Michael is the right man to lead the team through this World Cup campaign.”
The right-hander Ponting also led the team in the 2011 World Cup. Now 40 years old, he made 45 in his first World Cup final 1996 but his team lost to Sri Lanka.
He also holds the record for being involved in maximum ODI victories as a player with 262 wins. IANS