Smith should succeed Clarke as ODI captain – Ponting

"This guy, Smith, is just in the prime of his career right now"

“This guy, Smith, is just in the prime of his career right now”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting believes that Steve Smith should succeed Michael Clarke as ODI captain.

There has been a lot of debate about whether George Bailey or Smith should become ODI captain since the former has a lot of experience captaining in Clarke’s absence, while the latter impressed everyone when he led Australia during their recent Test series against India.

“I am a huge George Bailey fan, we have played a lot of state cricket together,” Ponting told ESPNcricinfo. “He’s also been a great leader, but this guy, Smith, is just in the prime of his career right now. He is playing beautifully, and it looks like he has sewn down the No.3 batting spot, potentially even in the Test team. With Clarke making the decision to retire from one-day cricket, you would think he’s only got a couple of years of Test cricket left in him, so Smith should be serving as one-day captain to be totally ready to take over the Test job when Michael finishes.”

Ponting also congratulated Clarke on making 74 in the World Cup final, which also happened to be his last ODI innings.

“The way he batted was a terrific way for him to finish,” Ponting said. “The New Zealanders decided to attack him early so he had a lot of open field where he could score from freely. He got through the initial 15-20 balls, then expanded his game and he would have loved to be not out at the end.

“Walk off the ground as the winning captain, maybe hitting the winning runs, but it wasn’t meant to be. He’s done a great job with the leadership of this team and you only have to look at his record. It’s a terrific effort by him.”

Ponting also lauded Australia for selecting a perfect squad for the tournament.

“It’s probably a better team than we give it credit for right now,” he said. “Probably because it’s a young team that’s developing we probably don’t know just how good a team this is. I’ve sat back and looked at this one-day team over the last couple of years and it’s a very good team.

“Only a couple of months ago, Johnson was the standout fast bowler in the world and all of a sudden, we’re not even taking about him anymore, we are talking about Mitchell Starc. Every one of the allrounders could get themselves picked in one format. James Faulkner will get himself picked as a bowler, Shane Watson as a batter and Glenn Maxwell also as a batter.

“There’s a few senior heads, Clarke bowing out, Haddin probably has some decisions to make around his one-day future, Mitchell Johnson would probably not be around for the next World Cup. Every successful Australian team that I have been part of has been a mix of youth and experience and this one is no different. There were some very exuberant youngsters in that side like Smith, Maxwell, Starc and Hazlewood. The balance has been spot on.”

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