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Australia captain Michael Clarke has revealed that he has no intentions of making the national team tone down their aggression following their intense series against England and South Africa, both of which they won.
Australia’s aggression during the recent Ashes series was subjected to harsh criticism from former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe, who, while writing for the Wisden Almanack, stated that “too often, it becomes crudely personal. And that is when cricket’s spirit and integrity are lost”.
Clarke responded by telling ESPNcricinfo: “Firstly Martin Crowe’s certainly entitled to his opinion, like the rest of us. I think we play our cricket hard on the field but I think as Australians we understand and respect there’s a line you can’t cross. I made no bones about the incident in Brisbane and what I said to James Anderson wasn’t appropriate, especially being over stump mic where boys and girls can hear that, and I did the same with the Dale Steyn incident.
“Sometimes when you’re playing sport at the highest level, emotions come out for people to see, and I think that’s a great thing about our game. But we understand there’s a line you can’t cross. You can go close to it, but you can’t cross it. I think generally Australians play cricket extremely fairly, and play sport extremely fairly. I can tell you in my career 100 different instances like those that nobody knows about, because it’s not over the stump mic, or you can’t see it first-hand.
“The Australian way is to play tough, non-compromising cricket on the field. I think if you speak to a lot of the other [international] players you’ll find that we’re very social off the field, we go out of our way to make sure we see the other team, win, lose or draw, after a game. But with that we understand there’s a line you can’t cross and I think generally we’re pretty good on that.
“The integrity of the game’s crucial, we all know that as players, and certainly as captain of Australia that’s a big part of my job to make sure that we always uphold the integrity of the game. With those sorts of things, when you’re out of line you get pulled up by CA or the ICC anyway, so there’s things in place to ensure you don’t overstep that mark.”
Meanwhile, Clarke also compared Australia’s recent 5-0 whitewashing of England to that of the 2006-07 Ashes series.
“In 2007 we had a team with a lot of experience,” Clarke said. “Five, six or seven of those players will go down as the greatest. If you picked an all-time great Australian team there could have been five of them in that team.
“I don’t think we have that calibre in our team right now individually, but we certainly have a great team and I think we’ve proved that to a lot of people over the last 12 months.
“The other side to that is we have a lot of improvement to do. Our greatest challenge is to not only win in Australia but also win away from home, and that’s why it was so pleasing to us as a team to beat the No. 1 team in their own backyard.”