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Clarke takes over Aussie Captaincy

Source - cricket365.co.za

Michael Clarke will lead Australia in today's Twenty20 clash with India after Ricky Ponting failed to overcome a back injury.

Ponting took part in a nets session this morning but Cricket Australia have decided not to risk the skipper with the CB Series beginning on Sunday at the Gabba.

Australia coach Tim Nielsen confirmed that Ponting was still struggling and that playing him was a risk the side did not want to take.

"He pulled up pretty sore this morning," revealed Nielsen.

"His back is just not 100% and with the uncertain nature of Twenty20 cricket and the frantic nature of it we're just a bit concerned that if he has to dive in the first over if we're fielding and pulls up very sore it could leave us one short.

"Today's decision was all about today. We'll have to keep assessing him and see how he goes each game from here."

The decision allows Clarke to take the reins for the second time following his successful captaincy stint in last month's T20 victory over New Zealand. Meanwhile Brad Hodge will fill the vacant number three slot, David Hussey will make his international debut and Ben Hilfenhaus has been confirmed as 12th man.

Nielsen admitted that the weeks following the controversial Sydney Test had been a strain, but feels that his side will be able to put it all behind them as they switch to the shorter format of the game.

"Don't for a second think that this is an easy thing to go through for anybody," Nielsen said of the aftermath of Sydney.

"It's been draining on our whole group. To be able to continually come out and play as well as we have as a group of individuals and as a collective team is something we're very proud of."

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