Captaincy yet to sink in for scrutinised Clarke

SYDNEY, (Reuters) – Michael Clarke got an idea of  the sort of scrutiny he will be subject to as Australia captain  over the weekend but said yesterday his appointment to the post  had not yet properly sunk in.

Clarke assumed the role, often described as the second most  important in Australia after that of prime minister, last  Wednesday and was surprised by the media attention paid to his  30th birthday celebrations on Saturday.

His first task as skipper is three one-day internationals in  Bangladesh and Clarke thought it would not be until the first  match in Dhaka on Saturday that he would properly realise his  new status.

Michael Clarke

“I don’t think it’s sunk in just yet but I’m excited,” he  told reporters at Sydney airport before the squad’s departure yesterday morning.

“When I take the field and I guess have the chance to walk  out first in front of the team it’ll probably sink in then.”

Despite having stood in for predecessor Ponting for the last  Ashes test and the one-day series against England that followed,  Clarke admitted it would also take time for the players to get  used to his style as skipper.

“I think for me it’s about being open, letting the guys know  that if there’s anything they need anytime 24-7 they can knock  on my door or they can call me,” he added.

“And I just want to give everybody the freedom to be who  they are and play the cricket that they love playing.”

Clarke again reiterated that he could foresee no problem  leading the side with Ponting in the ranks and had clearly taken  on board one central tenet of captaincy — not underestimating  your opponents.

“It’s going to be a tough tour no doubt and I think the  conditions will certainly suit Bangladesh,” he said.

“I’d imagine they’ll prepare pretty slow, turning wickets  and they’ve got some very good spinners, especially left-arm  orthodox spinners which with a lot of right handed batters in  our line-up they’re going to be quite tough.

“But it’s going to be a good challenge and we’re looking  forward to it.”

As for the pictures and video of him celebrating his  birthday, which were published and broadcast over the weekend,  Clarke said it would not distract him from the task at hand.

“I had a great day, it was really enjoyable and for me it’s  just about getting on with it,” he said.

“My focus is here, my focus is on getting to Bangladesh and  playing some good cricket and I think the public’s focus is  pretty similar.

“I don’t think they want to read about what I do on my  birthday.”

The three matches all take place in Dhaka on April 9, 11  and 13.

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