Ponting berates Clarke cricitics’ bad timing

Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke may not always have seen eye to eye, with the Australia captains having a few differences over the years, but Ponting feels Clarke's critics should wait till after The Oval to let rip.

Clarke will play his final match for Australia in the fifth Ashes Test this week, and after his announcement about that, many former players and coaches took to the media to air their criticisms of him.

But Ponting feels there's a time and place for such revelations, and feels that Clarke deserves the respect and courtesy everyone else gets when retiring, and should be allowed to sign off with kind words.

Ponting said on Cricinfo: "Cricket takes all sorts of characters and Michael and I had our share of disagreements.

"But when it came down to it he loved the game and performed with distinction for Australia as batsman and captain, taking the leadership job at a challenging time.

"It's been a little disappointing to see some of the public criticisms levelled at Michael Clarke at a time when his enormous contribution to Australian cricket should be acknowledged."

Ponting added of Clarke's career: "His statistics and longevity are right up there with the very best cricketers of all time. He should look back on his career with enormous satisfaction and pride.

"It seldom came easy for 'Pup', with his back-related injuries forcing him to work harder than most, especially over the last five years or so.

"I really hope he gets to enjoy his farewell Test and perform at a level that we have all become used to seeing over his career."