Belinda Clark to head Australian academy

AUSTRALIAN women's captain Belinda Clark will become the first woman to head the country's cricket academy, Cricket Australia (CA) said.

Clark, 34, will take up the role of the Centre of Excellence manager on her return from the women's Ashes series in the United Kingdom in September, CA said.

Clark, a Cricket Australia Level III accredited coach, will replace Trevor Robertson who has been in the role since the launch of the new centre in 2003.

``Belinda Clark has been successful in cricket both on and off the field,'' Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said in a statement.

``She is a natural leader, an extremely competent cricket administrator and we are very fortunate to be able to appoint someone of her calibre to this important role.''

Clark will captain the Australian team on its tour of Ireland and England beginning later this month, before returning in September to make a decision on her playing future.

The Centre of Excellence is a key part of Australian cricket's development system.

Since its inception in 1988, it has inducted 240 cricketers — 34 of whom have gone on to represent Australia in either Test or one-day international competition.