Ponting rejects call to replace Gilchrist as vice-captain

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Sydney, Dec 13 (UNI) Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has rejected former team-mate Shane Warne's appeal to make Michael Clarke as Test and ODI vice-captain in place of Adam Gilchrist.

Ponting said Clarke had grown into a leader over the past year but he would be considered for the position only if he maintained his performances of the past 12 months.

''I don't necessarily agree with (Warne),'' Ponting said.

''I don't think that needs to be the case right now. Gilly's not going to play forever, we're all not going to play forever, but Michael's opportunity is going to come,'' Ponting was quoted as saying by the local media.

Warne has strongly recommended Clarke for the post of vice-captain, saying it was time to groom him. ''The best way to do this would be to elevate him to the vice-captaincy in all forms of the game,'' the spin legend wrote in his Herald Sun column.

''He has all the attributes and the image, flair, confidence in his own ability, respect for the game and respect from his team-mates, which has been earned. He knows himself, understands his own game and is hungry for success.'' But his appeal was rejected outright by Ponting. ''The day will come when Michael will get his opportunity. It might not be right now, it might not be six months' time, but that opportunity will come and he will step into the vice-captain's role.'' ''Hopefully I can stay around for another few years and keep him out of my position for a bit longer.'' Michael Clarke had done well while captaining Australia during the Twenty20 match against New Zealand on Tuesday, fuelling speculations that he will eventually take over the mantle of captaincy after the retirement of Ricky Ponting.

UNI

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