Arthur says 'Pup' as phenomenal 'skipper material' as Smith
Australian coach Mickey Arthur has handed Michael Clarke the ultimate accolade by rating his captaincy as influential as that of South African counterpart Graeme Smith.
Smith, the most-capped captain in Test history, would be leading the Proteas for a remarkable 95th time in the first Test on November 9 at the Gabba, and Arthur played a key role in the opener's leadership development during his five-year reign as South African coach.
But Arthur now says the Australians have a leader to match Smith's clout and aura, insisting Clarke, also known as 'Pup', has shown the hallmarks of a captaincy great since succeeding Ricky Ponting after last year's World Cup fadeout.
"I see definite parallels between Smithy and Michael. Graeme is a phenomenal leader, he has an aura about him - he gets stuck in and when he talks people listen. Those are the qualities of all good leaders. Michael Clarke is exactly the same, he really is," News.com.au quoted Arthur, as saying.
"When 'Pup' walks in there is a definite aura around him, when he talks people sit up and listen, he has that ability to make people listen. They are both very positive leaders, they are both guys who lead by example and they prepare meticulously," he added.
According to the paper, Smith has won 44 of 94 Tests as skipper in steering South Africa to the No.1 Test ranking, while Clarke has revelled in the leadership role, guiding Australia to nine wins from 15 Tests.
However, it is Clarke's personal performance that underlines his captaincy prowess, as since replacing Ponting, the 31-year-old has blasted 1355 runs as captain with five centuries at 58.91, including his majestic 329 not out against India at the SCG last summer, the paper said.