Smith will succeed as captain: Clarke

Sydney, Sep 17 (IANS) Former Australia captain Michael Clarke believes that incumbent Steve Smith’s batting won’t be affected by his elevation to the top job, and insisted that the newly appointed Test skipper has been handed the reins at the best possible time.

Smith will oversee a new-look Australian team in the upcoming two-Test series in Bangladesh after Ashes squad members Clarke, Brad Haddin, Chris Rogers, Ryan Harris and Shane Watson recently announcing their retirements.

However, Clarke said Smith’s outstanding form — of which the recent highlight was the 215 he scored over eight hours during the Lord’s Test against England — ought to ensure he’s in the perfect frame to assume the captaincy.

“I think the positive for Smithy is he’s at the top of his game right now and that’s probably the best time to take over the captaincy. He’s comfortable with his batting and how he’s going about it,” Clarke was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday.

“He’s just going to have to manage both and I think he’s smart enough to do that. I want to see the boys go to Bangladesh and have success and I’m pretty sure they will — there’s plenty of talent in that team – so now it’s just going to take time for them to play together and build that camaraderie,” the World Cup winning captain said.

Clarke, who scored 151 on debut against India at Bangalore in 2004, described cricket as a sport where sometimes all a player needed was the opportunity to prove he was good enough to play at the highest level.

“The one thing I know about this game is people ask ‘is so-and-so good enough’, well, you don’t know unless they’re given an opportunity,” he said.

“I think about my Test debut and (you can ask) was I good enough then? I have no idea and I’m sure the people around me had no idea. But they made a call and and thankfully I was able to fulfil that potential. I think Australia is in very good hands (with the players vying for selection) and now it’s just about opportunity,” Clarke said.

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