Test great Shane Warne says Australia skipper Michael Clarke is clearly the best player in the side and should bat wherever he pleases.
Cricket Australia’s national talent manager and former skipper Greg Chappell has led calls for the in-form Clarke to promote himself from No.5 to No.4.
The retirement of No.4 Ricky Ponting on Monday has left a vacancy in the top four for the first Test against Sri Lanka in Hobart starting on December 14.
Australia coach and selector Mickey Arthur has already indicated he wants to move Shane Watson from No.3 to No.4 and bring in a new player for the crucial No.3 role.
South Australia’s Phil Hughes, Queensland’s Usman Khawaja and Victoria’s Rob Quiney would be the main candidates to fill the slot, leaving Clarke and veteran Michael Hussey to bat in the middle order at No.5 and No.6.
“Out of Perth there’s going to be a de-brief about what happened, what went wrong,” Warne told reporters on Tuesday night of Australia’s massive loss in the third Test to South Africa.
“With the loss of Ricky now, they have to work out what’s the best batting order.
“To me it would be up to Michael Clarke what the best batting order is.
“He’s the captain of the side (and a selector). He’ll work in conjunction with the selectors.
“Michael Clarke’s the best player in the side.
“You want your best player wherever he feels comfortable and wherever he feels is the best place to bat for him, that’s where he should bat.
“You work your team around that because he’s in such great form.
“Michael Clarke can bat anywhere from one to six. He’s such a good player of the spinners too.
“Let’s just work out who’s the player they’re going to pick for the next Test match and that will help dictate the side as well.”
Warne welcomed the move to slide Watson out of the top three.
“I’ve always said Shane Watson should be down the order a little bit,” Warne said.
“Even though he’s done well opening, it suits him in the middle order better.”
Warne, 43, will captain Melbourne Stars in the opening match of the BBL season against Melbourne Renegades at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.