Michael Clarke says Ponting can have one of his best series

Michael Clarke said absence of AB de Villiers could hurt South Africa Getty Images

By CricketCountry Staff

Centurion: Oct 18, 2011

Australia captain Michael Clarke is expecting his predecessor Ricky Ponting to score heaps of runs in the upcoming in the one-day and Test series against South Africa.

“Ricky’s very experienced and talented and I believe he still has a hell of a lot to offer Australian cricket in both ODIs and Tests, I have a feeling he’s on the brink of one of his best series in his whole career. He batted well in Sri Lanka, he made runs for Tasmania last week and, watching him in the nets, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the man of the series and the leading run-scorer,” Clarke was quoted by Times of India.

The Australian skipper informed that injured teammates Shane Watson, who has a hip problem, and Shaun Marsh, who has shoulder injury, didn t come for practice session and they will be monitored on Wednesday.

“There’s still a chance they’ll play. We won’t pick the team until tomorrow morning, so that gives them another 24 hours and time for us to make the right decision and the smart decision with three ODIs and the Tests to play, because they’re both very important players for us,” he said.

Clarke said he is excited with the presence of young pacers Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, and Mitchell Marsh, who will back the experienced Mitchell Johnson and Doug Bollinger.

“I’m really excited because there’s plenty of talent there. Conditions in South Africa probably favour the pace bowlers more, although we do still have a couple of spin options. Pat Cummins is a very exciting young prospect, he’s quite fast, he moves the ball and he has great knowledge of fast bowling for an 18-year-old,” Clarke said.

Australia s unsuccessful World Cup campaign had no effect on their rankings, but Clarke said it will be tough to maintain it against South Africa.

“There’s no doubt we’re aware of the number one ranking and very proud of it. We want to be number one in all three formats, but we’re coming up against very tough opposition in conditions they enjoy,” Clarke said, adding that AB de Villiers absence could hurt the home side.