Cricket - Warne hits out at Ponting

Shane Warne has taken a swipe at former Australia captain Ricky Ponting following the recently retired batsman's fall-out with current skipper Michael Clarke.

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Cricket - Warne hits out at Ponting
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Shane Warne, left, has defended Michael Clarke, right, after recent criticism from Ricky Ponting.

Clarke came in for some criticism from Ponting, who questioned the 32-year-old's role as vice-captain when he skippered the side as well as his former relationship with model Lara Bingle, in his recently released book 'At the Close of Play'.

But Warne has leapt to Clarke's defence, even suggesting that Ponting may have been jealous of his form with the bat.

"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 told national newspapers.

"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."

Ponting and Warne were both part of the Australia side which dominated cricket for the best part of a decade from the late 90s with Ponting being the last of that golden generation to retire.

The Tasmanian was skipper when England claimed their surprise triumph on home soil in 2005 and, despite his side following that with a series whitewash down under in 2006/7, he also oversaw consecutive defeats in the next two clashes for the urn.

Ponting did not feature this summer as England claimed the Ashes for the the third time in a row but Warne believes the 38-year-old's record against the old enemy is something that will haunt him.

"I know he beats himself up mercilessly about being the only Australian captain ever to lose three Ashes," Warne said.

"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."

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