Former skipper Ricky Ponting says questioning Michael Clarke’s Australian captaincy credentials is ridiculous.
Clark was left bewildered when, on his arrival home from Australia’s crushing 2-0 series loss to Pakistan in the UAE, he was grilled about whether he remained the right man to lead the Test team.
Ponting on Thursday joined fellow former captains Allan Border and Steve Waugh in throwing his support behind the skipper, who is a battling a batting form slump.
“I think that was quite ridiculous, to tell you the truth,” Ponting said as Australia’s three World Cup-winning captains gathered to mark 100 days before the start of the 2015 tournament.
“The team’s done some amazing things in the last couple of years and got themselves back up to No.1 in two forms of the game at least, had some amazing series whitewashes and things.
“We know that out of the last couple of weeks the guys didn’t handle the conditions that well over there (in the UAE) but..it’s two Test matches, a bit of a blip on what’s otherwise been a pretty good copybook for the last couple of years.
“So hopefully they can learn from their mistakes over the last couple of weeks, move on and be a better team in Asia for coming tournaments.”
After a prolific run in which he topped the world batting rankings, Clarke has averaged just 27.46 in his past 16 innings and managed only 57 runs in four digs against Pakistan.
Waugh, though, had no doubts Clarke would emerge from his slump and said calling his leadership into question is unfair.
“I can’t understand that. I mean, every player goes through a time where they’re not scoring runs,” Waugh said.
“But he’s had an incredible run – 5-nil against England last year, beating South Africa away (this year) was an amazing result for Australia.
“So you’ve got to put it into context. It was two Test matches, we didn’t play well. Let’s judge the side after maybe another six, 12 months and see how they’re going.
“But I think he’s done a fantastic job.”
Border was also surprised about the flak Clarke received.
“They’ve got short memories,” he said.
“A couple of weeks of poor cricket doesn’t change the quality.
“I think he’s definitely the right bloke.”