Clarke's batting has improved with Australia's captaincy: Ponting

Former skipper Ricky Ponting has said that his successor Michael Clarke has become a better batsman with the Australian captaincy.

On both counts, Ponting's decision on March 29 last year to divest himself of the leadership has worked out, with the past and present captains coming together for a record-breaking partnership of 288 at the SCG against India.

Clarke celebrated his finest achievement on a cricket field � a maiden triple century and the highest score by an Australian at the ground where he was raised.

He now averages above 54.9 since taking over the captaincy on a permanent basis; his career average. Before accepting the job, his average was 46.49.

Ponting said: "His record would suggest that he has thrived as captain. It was probably fairly similar for me when I took over the job. I know my batting average went up a lot and Michael's has and will continue to if he keeps playing the way he has since he's been captain.

"You just know that there are people out there who will enjoy what comes with being captain. The stuff that happens on the field, the bowling changes, the field changes and all that sort of stuff, that's the easy part of captaining an international cricket team."

"That is sometimes the stuff that can bring you down a little bit. What I've seen with Michael, like I was, he's got the ability to separate his batting from the captaincy. He's said he wants to stand up and lead from the front in the field and he's done that terrifically well," The Age quoted Ponting, as saying.

Clearly, these are the things Ponting has not missed since standing down after the World Cup, although plenty of people have questioned the 37-year-old''s place in the team since then.

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