Cricket

Ponting to lead Australia

2012-02-14 07:43
Ricky Ponting (AFP)

Sydney - Former skipper Ricky Ponting will lead Australia in the place of injured Michael Clarke for Australia's tri one-day series international against Sri Lanka in Sydney, officials said on Tuesday.

Ponting, who was replaced as Australia captain last year, was named as the stand-in skipper for Friday's match after Clarke injured a hamstring in the team's four-wicket loss to India in Adelaide on Sunday.

Team officials said they hoped Clarke would recover from his strain in time for Sunday's ODI against India in Brisbane.

"After careful consideration the selection panel has asked Ricky Ponting if he would captain the Australian ODI team in Michael Clarke's absence," chief selector John Inverarity said.

"The panel appreciates the fact that Ricky is prepared to accept this responsibility in the wider interests of the team."

Paceman Brett Lee and senior batsman Mike Hussey return to the squad with fast bowler Ryan Harris rested, but there was no place for Test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who has yet to play in the tri ODI series.

Selectors also named opening batsman David Warner as team vice-captain in the continuing absence of Shane Watson, who will try to prove his fitness in a Sheffield Shield match this weekend.

"Michael Clarke will not be considered for the ODI in Sydney this Friday due to a low-grade hamstring strain," Inverarity said.

"The medical staff are hopeful that Michael will be fit to play in Brisbane on Sunday and that is why he has been included in the squad."

Inverarity said some players were showing signs of fatigue after a demanding summer of Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 cricket.

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

"The selectors have 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, and as expected Michael Hussey returns to the squad."

Inverarity said new vice-captain Warner had the potential to lead the team one day.

"David Warner is a young player making his way. He displays considerable leadership potential, but the panel is of the view that he should not, at this moment, have the added responsibility of captaincy thrust on him," he said.

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."

Inverarity said all-rounder Watson would play in domestic Shield cricket this weekend to prove his fitness after a hamstring injury.

Australia - Michael Clarke (capt), Ricky Ponting (capt for ODI vs Sri Lanka), David Warner (vice-capt), Dan Christian, Xavier Doherty, Peter Forrest, Ben Hilfenhaus, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Brett Lee, Mitchell Marsh, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade.

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