CENTURION, South Africa, (Reuters) – Australia cricket captain Michael Clarke is expecting great things from his predecessor Ricky Ponting in the one-day series against South Africa that starts today.
“Ricky’s very experienced and talented and I believe he still has a hell of a lot to offer Australian cricket in both ODIs and tests,” Clarke told a news conference yesterday.
“I have a feeling he’s on the brink of one of his best series in his whole career. He batted well in Sri Lanka, he made runs for Tasmania last week and, watching him in the nets, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the man of the series and the leading run-scorer.”
Top-order batsmen Shane Watson, who has a hip problem, and Shaun Marsh (shoulder) did not take part in a fielding session yesterday and Clarke said they would be assessed again on the morning of the match.
“There’s still a chance they’ll play. We won’t pick the team until tomorrow morning, so that gives them another 24 hours and time for us to make the right decision and the smart decision with three ODIs and the tests to play, because they’re both very important players for us.”
South African conditions traditionally suit fast bowlers and Australia have three promising young pacemen in their squad in Pat Cummins, 18, James Pattinson, 21, and 19-year-old Mitchell Marsh, backing up the established duo of Mitchell Johnson and Doug Bollinger.
“I’m really excited because there’s plenty of talent there. Conditions in South Africa probably favour the pace bowlers more, although we do still have a couple of spin options,” Clarke said.