'Clarke has lot of maturing to do before taking Ponting's mantle'

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Sydney, Feb 7 (ANI): Former Australian coach John Buchanan has said that Ricky Ponting's heir apparent, Michael Clarke, has a lot of maturing to do at a time when the team needs strong leaders, after he clashed with Simon Katich in dressing room over a team ritual.

There is much about Clarke's conduct on and off the field that has impressed John Buchanan, but he suspects that the 27-year-old vice-captain is still learning to appreciate the team values promoted by champions such as Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist.

"From a distance, one would think he is saying all the right things and doing all the right things," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Buchanan, as saying.

"I think he has still got a long way to go in terms of maturity and understanding what the word 'team' really means, but the more opportunities he is given to learn that, whether in a formal leadership sense or in and around people like Ponting and (Michael) Hussey and others the better. Whether he chooses to take those opportunities or not is up to him."

Cricket Australia yesterday tried to play down the heated physical argument that broke out hours after Australia's win over South Africa at the SCG last month, and Clarke laughed it off at the toss before yesterday's one-day international against New Zealand.

Katich appears to have been the aggressor and is perhaps fortunate not to be cautioned by Cricket Australia after grabbing his vice-captain by the throat.

Clarke urging the team to hurry up and sing the victory song sparked the incident after the SCG Test. (ANI)

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