Clarke must shape up as batsman or forget about Oz captaincy: Ian Chappell

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

SYDNEY - Former Australian cricketer Ian Chappell has said that Michael Clarke must reaffirm his status as an irreplaceable Test batsman before he can lay claim to succeed Ricky Ponting as the captain of the national team.

Clarke will captain Australia for the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne should Ponting fail to recover from a finger injury picked up during the third-Test defeat of England in Perth.

The vice-captain has scored just 115 runs in the ongoing series at an average of 23 - a far cry from last year’s Ashes where he was Australia’s leading scorer with 448 at an average of 64.

“Just two to three weeks ago you’d have said if Ponting was injured and out of the Test match in Melbourne, that Clarke was a shoo-in, Clarke takes over,” the Herald Sun quoted Chappell, as saying.

“I’m sure Clarke will get the job in Melbourne if Ricky can’t play. But it’s a different question if you’re asking about permanent captaincy with Michael Clarke.”

“That’s where the area becomes really clouded because the England bowlers have sorted him out a bit with some short-pitched stuff,” he added.

Chappell insisted that the 29-year-old can’t be regarded as Ponting’s successor while he is carrying a glaring problem with short-pitched bowling.

“Clarke has got to answer those questions as a batsman before he gets back to that position of being undoubtedly the replacement for Ricky Ponting,” Chappell said. (ANI)

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