Ponting: Smith must take over from Clarke

2015 World Cup

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting says that while George Bailey is a wonderful cricketer, the next ODI captain should be Steve Smith, in order to groom him to take over the Test side from Michael Clarke.

With Clarke hanging up his ODI kit in the wake of his side's World Cup win, a new skipper must be picked. Ponting feels they must look forward, to Smith, who is set to take over the Test side when Clarke gives up that role as well.

Bailey has been in the strange position for years of being picked either as skipper, in Clarke's absence, or not at all. He played in the first game of the World Cup, with Clarke injured, and then not again.

Ponting told Cricinfo: "I am a huge George Bailey fan, we have played a lot of state cricket together. 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."

Clarke ended his ODI career with a 74 in the final against the Black Caps, leading his side to a seven-wicket win in Melbourne. Ponting, who also retired after a World Cup, said this was the ideal way to end.

Ponting added: "The way he batted was a terrific way for him to finish. 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."

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