As baptisms go, Michael Clarke’s first tour as full time captain of Australia couldn’t have gone much better.
The biggest problem with playing Bangladesh, or a side of similar standing is the prospect of making a mess of things against a side that you are expected to beat convincingly.
Thankfully for Clarke and Australia, that didn’t happen. Although for us poms, it would have been a good laugh had they done so.
I didn’t see the games, but I followed them by reading the reports and catching some of the highlights. The results clearly went well and I believe that the Aussies aren’t currently in that bad a place in ODI’s.
One thing that stood out too me straight away is that Clarke hasn’t tried to implement many changes. He has stuck with the bulk of the players and to the formula used by Australia over recent years.
I got the impression that he kept things simple, there was no sign of any ‘I’m the boss now’ message for Ricky Ponting, and he would appear to still be the main man that the batting is built around.
I think it would have been pointless for Clarke to start upsetting people like Ponting at this stage, the fact that he hasn’t tried to impose his authority in a heavy handed needless way shows good common sense and temperament to me.
There is probably plenty of cricketers who would have tried to publicly demote Ponting in some way just to show who is really in charge, Clarke appears to have been sensible and avoided going down that road.
The Aussie batting is looking strong again and they are in good nick with wicketkeepers also. To take two on tour, with a view to using one or both as batsmen shows how blessed they currently are with Brad Haddin and Tim Paine.
In the bowling department thay still have the experience of Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson and now big John Hastings seems to be establishing himself as the allrounder.
Steven Smith is also continuing with his development, I wonder if the long term plan for Smith is for him to be the spin option. Xavier Doherty got another chance and failed to make any major impact, that would probably be the main area of immeadiate concern to Clarke and the Aussie selectors.
Australia can’t keep chopping and changing in this department, if they don’t see Smith as the front line spinner then they surely have to stick with Doherty and give him a run in the side and a proper chance to prove himself.
But overall I think that the Aussie ODI team is in a decent place. Yes Lee, Hussey and Ponting will need replacing soon, but they have probably got a year or two left in them yet and that gives Australia valuable time to gradually blood their long term replacements.