Tag Archives: Michael Clarke

A New Era Begins

Finally…..finally Cricket Australia has listened to all the calls for heads to roll in the higher echelons of the selection table. With the Argus review reaching its conclusions on Thursday, it has been reported that head selector Andrew Hilditch, Greg Chappell and current coach Tim Nielsen have all no longer got their jobs. Continue reading


The curious case of Michael Clarke.

It’s highly unlikely that there is another name in sport which divides the Australian public as much as that of Michael Clarke and this was once again highlighted earlier this week, when as expected, Michael Clarke was named as Ricky Ponting’s replacement as the captain of the Australian Cricket Team. Continue reading

Ponting’s Injury, Clarke’s Gain… Or is it?

With Ricky Ponting a possibility to miss out on the Boxing Day Test with a fractured little finger, Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke is expected to stand in as captain, right?

In an interview on TV earlier this week Greg Chappell has said that Clarke is quickly losing favour within the eyes of the selection panel, in regards to his leadership ability that is. The other thing to add to his diminishing reputation as a leader is his current lack of form. Clarke is averaging 20 odd so far this series with the bat, struggling to move around the field due to his back injury and can’t bowl a ball because of said injury. A man out of form and struggling in all facets of the game is a man low on confidence and a man, a captain, low on confidence brings the rest of the team down with him.

In an article in The Age, Andrew Hilditch is reported as saying that Clarke will undergo more leadership training next year, while current Victorian captain Cameron White is the countries second best leader (behind Ponting), with Tim Paine the best of the up-and-comers.

So with Clarke sliding down the leadership ladder, is he really the best option to lead Australia into the Boxing Day Test if Ponting doesn’t get up for it?

Clearly Cameron White isn’t going to be brought into the team to captain, let alone play, so who in the current team are the potential leaders? To my way of thinking, there are three stand alone, obvious choices – Mike Hussey, Brad Haddin or Shane Watson.

Those three players are the leading players for Australia this series, they take up the top three spots in batting averages and runs scored. They are in form and high in confidence and that in turn, will rub off on the other players.

Hussey and Haddin have experience as captains, they have both captained their respective state sides and done so decently. Watson is the only one with the question mark over his ability to lead ten other players. In another article it is reported that Watson may struggle to maintain mental strength over himself while trying to manage the captaincy, match tactics, slips fielding, bowling and opening the batting. There is the potential for an overload and that would have adverse effects for both Watson and Australia’s flickering Ashes hopes.

The other thing about those three mentioned players is that they are all aggressive players and are able to read the play really well, which means they will always be looking at pacing the game and keeping the opposition sweating. Could be a change to Ponting’s captaincy where there seems to be a bit of a stop-start action to his play.

So the choice is this if Ponting doesn’t play – a captain who is out of form, low on confidence, battling injury and has lost favour with the majority or a captain who is in form, confident, energetic and has/will have the support of the majority?


In defence of Michael Clarke

Why is this bloke hated so much?

After a string of recent losses under Michael Clarke’s guidance, none more so than the debacle at the MCG tonight, the knives are well and truly out and are hitting the target on the “Pup’s” back.

Clarke, now 29-years-old, has captained his country in 17 ODI’s, claiming 12 wins with a winning ratio of 71%. This record is far superior to that of Steve Waugh (67 wins in 106 games, a 65% winning ratio) and just behind Ricky Ponting (160 wins in 220 games, a 77% winning ratio), both of which had far superior players at their disposal such as Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist, Mark Waugh, Mathew Hayden and Andrew Symonds… To name a few.

After tonight’s loss, many fans have been quick to criticise Clarke’s field placements and choice of bowlers at various intervals in the game, in particular the limited use of young leg-spinner Steve Smith. However, many of those criticising Clarke are unaware of the back injury suffered by Smith earlier in the game whilst fielding. And when addressing the issue of field placements, there is only so much a captain can do, and if his bowlers are not capable of bowling in the correct areas, then his job becomes nothing short of impossible. At the end of the day, a captain should not have to set fields for bad bowling in any form of cricket, especially at international level.

The reason Australia lost this game is firstly because they didn’t make enough runs, and secondly because the bowlers (apart from debuting Xavier Doherty) simply didn’t bowl in the right areas. Furthermore, when John Hastings is playing for Australia, there is something wrong with the selection panel and they too need to take some of the blame. In fairness to Hastings, he’s a quality young cricketer who bowled reasonably well tonight, however when blokes like Dirk Nannes, Clint McKay and Stuart Clark are fit and ready to go on the sidelines, Hastings really shouldn’t be wearing the green and gold.

Mitch Johnson and Peter Siddle, who took just 2 wickets for 119 runs off their combined total of 18 overs, need to improve quickly or they risk losing their spots for the upcoming Ashes series against a cocky English outfit. With Ben Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger all aiming for the 1st Test at the Gabba in a few weeks time, the pressure is well and truly on all fast bowlers to make the most of their opportunities when they are presented.

England, who arrived in the country late last week, would’ve been sitting back in their hotel room, sipping on a few beers and laughing at what unfolded at the MCG tonight. The confidence levels in the Australian camp are at rock bottom and a losing streak like this hasn’t been seen for a long, long time.

The interest in the ODI’s, from an Australian perspective at least, was pathetic, with just under 20,000 fans attending the game at the 100,000 seat capacity stadium, the majority being Sri Lankan’s. Seeing the Sri Lankan fans dance, cheer and take over Bay 13 was a sign of the poor position Australian cricket finds itself in.

Thankfully it’s an Ashes summer.