SYDNEY, (Reuters) – Batsman Michael Clarke was appointed Australia’s 43rd test cricket captain yesterday, a day after Ricky Ponting’s resigned the post.
The 29-year-old, who served as vice-captain under Ponting, will also take charge of the one-day side, which plays three matches in Bangladesh next month. All rounder Shane Watson is the new vice-captain of the test and one-day teams.
“I just want to say what a honour it is to be named captain of Australia and a huge surprise to see Ricky stand down,” Clarke told a media conference. “I spent a lot of time with Ricky during the world Cup and I was very much unaware of where he was it so it was a big surprise for me.”
Cameron White will retain the captaincy of Australia’s Twenty20 team, which Clarke relinquished after losing the fifth Ashes test to England as stand-in captain for the injured Ponting in January. Watson is also vice-captain of that team.
Nicknamed Pup, Clarke scored 151 on his test debut in Bangalore in 2004 and another century on his home debut against New Zealand, although his form has dipped over the last year.
Long Ponting’s anointed successor, Clarke’s tattoos, top of the range BMW and glamorous apartment in the beach side Sydney suburb of Bondi have jarred with more traditional parts of the Australian public.
Clarke is also a keen tweeter and it was via his Twitter page (twitter.com/MClarke23) that he apologised for not walking when given out during the Ashes test defeat in Adelaide last December.
He faces a baptism of fire over the next 12 months as Australia follow their trip to Bangladesh with test tours of Sri Lanka and South Africa before hosting New Zealand and India in the next southern hemisphere summer.
His mentor Ponting, who wants to continue playing in both one day and test matches, was included in the squad for Bangladesh, which was also announced yesterday.