Clarke takes over from Ponting

Clarke takes over  from Ponting

The 29-year-old will also take charge of the one-day side, which plays three matches in Bangladesh next month. All rounder Shane Watson was appointed the new vice-captain of the Test and one-day teams.

“I just want to say what a honour it is to be named captain of Australia and a huge surprise to see Ricky stand down,” Clarke told a news conference at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

Clarke, who turns 30 this weekend, begins the job with Australian cricket at its lowest ebb since the mid-1980s, ranked fifth in the world in Tests and still smarting from a home Ashes drubbing and a quarterfinal exit at the World Cup.

“The key for me is we go back to old-fashioned basics. That’s batting, bowling and fielding,” he said. “I’m not going to reinvent the wheel.  We want to become the number one ranked team in all forms and that’s going to take a long time,” he added.

If newspaper and website polls are to be believed, Clarke’s appointment was not welcomed by a lot of fans, many of whom take exception to his transformation from a working class boy from Sydney's western suburbs into a celebrity.

The tattoos, top of the range BMW, glamorous apartment in the beach side Sydney suburb of Bondi and celebrity girlfriends make him a very different captain from his 42 predecessors.

Also a keen tweeter, it was via his Twitter page (twitter.com/MClarke23) that Clarke apologised for not walking when given out during the Ashes defeat in Adelaide in December.

“My address has changed and I’ve got a few more tattoos than when I was a kid, but the person inside is exactly the same,” he said.  “I need to be continue to be true to myself, people will have their own opinions,” he added.

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