‘Ricky has my number’, says Michael Clarke

Image courtesy of: The Guardian

“I’ve said what I had to say on that issue”

Australia captain Michael Clarke has announced that if his predecessor, Ricky Ponting, has any problems with him, then all he has to do is pick up the phone since he “has my number”.

Clarke was responding to Ponting’s comments about his autobiography, At the Close of Play, and how it heavily criticises the current Australian skipper back in the day when he was the vice-captain of the national team.

“I’ve said what I had to say on that issue,” Clarke said. “For me, it’s about preparing for the game [against Tasmania] and looking forward to a huge game.

“I’m very focused on cricket and I certainly won’t let anything take my mind off that.

“Ricky has my number and we’ve spoken for the last 15 years so I don’t think anything will change.

“I’m very focused on what’s in front of me and making sure I’m as well prepared as I can be for this first Sheffield Shield game and then obviously a huge [Australian] summer ahead.”

Clarke revealed that he has been really impressed with the performances of a number of players in the recently concluded Ryobi Cup and the national team’s ongoing limited overs tour of India.

“I think what’s been really exciting at the start of this year has not only been the guys’ performances in India but also the guys performing in the Ryobi Cup as well,” he said. “I think we’ve seen a lot of batters put their hands up and make runs, so they’ll be at the front of the selectors’ minds, and I think the bowlers on pretty flat wickets have done a fantastic job as well.”

The 32-year-old was also quick to dismiss concerns about Australia’s lacklustre batting performances during their last two Test series against India and England.

“I think there’s been some great performances as well,” he said. “I think individual players have really stood up.

“We’ve seen Steve Smith make his first Test hundred, Chris Rogers make his first Test hundred and Watto (Shane Watson) get his highest Test score in England recently, so I think we’ve seen some real positives as well.”

When asked if England deserved to win the previous Ashes series 3-0, Clarke said: “If you decide they’re favourites, yeah. I think for us it’s about making sure we’re as well prepared as we can be and we play our best cricket, and I’m confident if we do those two things we can win the series.”

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