Oz greats ask CA to come out with master plan for post-Ponting era

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Melbourne, Jan 30 (ANI): Former Australian greats fear that the game of cricket is crumbling under a leadership crisis in the country, and have urged Cricket Australia to come out with a master plan for the post-Ponting era.

With skipper Ricky Ponting entering his twilight years, former Test captain Kim Hughes said that deputy Michael Clarke's form and injury struggles underline why Cricket Australia must look for more options.

The 29-year-old Clarke has been groomed for the top job for three years. But if he is dropped tomorrow, Australian cricket would be seemingly left scrambling for an obvious long-term alternative, News.com.au reports.

Brad Haddin, Michael Hussey, Shane Watson, Simon Katich and Tim Paine have been mentioned intermittently as potential leaders. But with each of them having individual deficiencies, Hughes fears Cricket Australia is relying too heavily on Clarke.

"Hopefully Michael Clarke will come out of his bad trot and he would take over from Ricky. But it's a real worry with the way he's batting. Ideally you want someone who will be a member of all three sides (Test, one-day and Twenty20) but realistically that won't be happening. There's really not much around other than Michael," Hughes said.

Former Test gloveman Steve Rixon, who faced a similar leadership vacuum as coach of New Zealand, can see the parallels.

"Our leadership options are a worry and it's a sad indictment on the state of Australian cricket. You can't put all your eggs in one basket with Clarke, you need to look at possible leaders ... we need to identify leadership qualities early," he said.

"I went through a similar situation in New Zealand when I was their coach. Lee Germon moved on and the next leader wasn't evident. We had guys around for a long time but I had to take a calculated punt on Stephen Fleming. He was young but when he opened his mouth people seemed to listen to him.

"We don't have leaders jumping out of our skin. I still think Michael should be the next captain. I don't think we've got any real option really, which is a concern," Rixon said. (ANI)

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