|Clarke with his Allan Border medal|
I always maintained that Clarke would be a good leader and he has been groomed for most of his career for the role that he is now doing, but the verdict was always out if Pup was mature enough, or whether he was serious enough, or whether he was this or that and countless other things, but now seeing Clarke - the man who seems to enjoy the idea of being at the helm and revel the idea of huge responsibilities on his shoulders, there's absolutely no doubt of that.
Clarke is in my opinion has the potential to be one of Australia's greatest captains and perhaps even one of cricket's influential leader. He inherited a side that no longer was the undisputed leaders of the game and dominant masters of (Paddy Power cricket betting markets) setting the standard as they had been for the last decade and Australian cricket in the last few years have undergone many troubling trials that resembled the confusion generally found in the subcontinent. The CA management and selectors committee were dragged into one controversy over another while the team was slowly breaking up as all its legends and stars who built an era of invincibility became ageing warriors slowly riding into the sun set and leaving the heavy task of winning and keeping the high standards that was under them on some very inexperienced shoulders. Unlike Ponting who got a squad full of talent and experience under him, Clarke got the very opposite and he was left to salvage the old glory days of Australia's prime and the fact that Clarke has rallied his young team around him and now stand number three in test cricket speaks volumes of his ability to inspire confidence into his troops and lead them to winning ways.
The maturity of Clarke was seen foremost when yesterday night at the awards ceremony speaking of his fourth Allan Border medal win said,
"It is an honour to win an individual award on a night like tonight but it's more about the team. I would love to see the Australian cricket team standing on a stage in the near future winning the best sporting team in this country or the best sporting team in the world. Something like that is my goal and I know it's the players' goal as well. It is nice to win another Allan Border Medal and just as special as the first time I won but I'd love to see the team up there winning awards more than individual players."Great captains have always been people who think about the larger picture and the team and Clarke is doing the same. Great leaders create a culture where the team is always greater than the individual and Graeme Smith who recently led South Africa for the 100th test and Stephen Flemming - arguably cricket's greatest leader emphasis on that one point above everything and I'm sure that Clarke by the end of his career can be mentioned next to these two great leaders.
Another thing with Clarke is that he was groomed for leadership for most part of his career being Ponting's deputy and there was no doubt whether he'd be the captain or not. The doubt was whether he'd be a good captain. Not all leaders are groomed and some like Smith are just pushed into the role, but the advantages of grooming and the education it provides is priceless and teams like India, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand can learn much from this. The captaincy story in both Sri Lanka and New Zealand is in total confusion and that's what the lack of planning can result in. India have a few years to bring up young Virat Kohli who in many ways resembles the old Micheal Clarke of 2005 - young, flamboyant, and immature. India have a good skipper in MS Dhoni and Kohli can certainly learn much from him. We saw him him struggle in the recent India v England series and surely that probably would have been one of his most educating series. The next few seasons will harden him and slowly transform into what Clarke is now to Australia.
Captaincy in cricket unlike in many team sports such as football or hockey plays a very important role and can be the difference between a win and a loss in many cases and having a good man as a captain is what'll bring a team success and there is Clarke is the right man for the job and there's no question over that.