Shane Warne has blasted former teammate Ricky Ponting for criticizing current Australia skipper Michael Clarke, in his autobiography. The legendary spinner said Ponting's views that he never considered Clarke as an able leader, may have been a result of professional 'jealousy'.
Ponting recently revealed in his autobiography - At The Close of Play - that he always found vice-captain Clarke taking a back seat to proceedings and not executing all his responsibilities.
Warne - believed to be a close friend of Clarke - however has suggested that Ponting's observation in his book may have stemmed from the fact that Clarke had begun outperforming him. "To bring up the stuff about Pup (Clarke) - maybe there was a bit of jealousy, because Pup was batting so well and Ricky was not making any runs," Warne was quoted as saying by reports in the Australian press. (Also read: Ponting offended as Mark Taylor walks into Clarke feud)
"To me, Michael's very well respected. The best captains keep stuff in the dressing room. No-one ever finds out about it. That's what good leaders are about. So to hear all this in a book is pretty ordinary." (Related: Boring, negative and unimaginative - Warne's views on Alastair Cook)
While a series of text messages were exchanged between Ponting and Clarke after the former made his 'negative' observations public, Warne's assessment of the entire debacle is likely to increase tension again. "I know he (Ponting) beats himself up mercilessly about being the only Australian captain ever to lose three Ashes," said Warne. "And I know Ricky made that horrific decision to put England in at Edgbaston in 2005. I don't want to be mean about Ricky - he's a good guy and he tried to do the best he could."
Ponting made way for Clarke to take over as Australia's T20 skipper in 2009 and again when he called it quits from ODIs and Tests after the 2011 World Cup. In his autobiography, Ponting writes that Clarke had the tendency to become reclusive when out of form, forgetting his responsibilities as his deputy. "It wasn't that he was disruptive or treacherous, and publicly he said all the right things, but he had never been one to get too involved in planning sessions or debriefs at the end of a day's play, or to volunteer to take on any of the captain's workload," reads an extract from the book.