Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
A plethora of former Australia captains have voiced their support for Michael Clarke after people began questioning whether he should continue leading the national team following their 2-0 whitewashing at the hands of Pakistan.
Clarke’s side, barring a few players, did not put up much of a fight during their recently concluded two-Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates. As a result of this, they lost the first Test by 221 runs and the second by 356.
“I think that was quite ridiculous to tell the truth, the team’s done some amazing things in the last couple of years and got themselves back up to No. 1 in two forms of the game at least and had some amazing series whitewashes,” Clarke’s predecessor, Ricky Ponting, said. “We know that out of the last couple of weeks the guys didn’t handle the conditions that well over there but at the end of the day it’s two Test matches and a bit of a blip on what’s been a pretty good copybook over the last couple of years. Hopefully they can learn from their mistakes over the last couple of weeks and move on and be a better team in Asia for coming tournaments.”
Former captain Steve Waugh agreed with Ponting’s views and believes that people are forgetting that Clarke led the national team when they whitewashed England 5-0 in the last Ashes series and beat South Africa 2-1 in front of their home fans in March.
“I can’t understand it,” Waugh said. “Every player goes through a time when they’re not scoring runs but he’s had an incredible run, 5-0 against England last year, beating South Africa away was an amazing result for Australia.
“So you’ve got to put it in context, he didn’t play well, it was two Test matches, so let’s judge the side after another 6-12 months and see how they’re going, but I think he’s done a fantastic job.”
Legendary captain Allan Border, who led Australia in the 1992 World Cup, which was the last time the tournament was held in the Land Down Under, concurred that Clarke has to be judged over a longer period of time.
“I’m very surprised anyone’s questioning that,” he said. “We’ve got short memories, a couple of weeks of poor cricket doesn’t change the quality of the captain, so I think he’s definitely the right bloke.”
When asked what he thought about people questioning his leadership, Clarke said: “We did pretty well to win the Ashes 5-0. I hope I’m doing the team justice as their leader, as captain, but I guess the selectors make that decision and the Cricket Australia board make that decision.
“If they think there’s someone better for the job, if they think my time is up as captain, then I’m sure they’ll let me know. But, from my perspective, I feel like I’ve still got a lot to offer the team. My performances over the past five years have been pretty consistent and I think my captaincy’s been pretty consistent over that period as well, so hopefully I’m not judged just on two Test matches.”