Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Michael Clarke has admitted that he would consider making a comeback as Australia’s captain, but only if he is “asked by the right people”.
Clarke’s comments come after his successor, Steve Smith, admitted that Australia had engaged in ball tampering on the third day of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.
Smith’s shocking admission comes after opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was caught taking a mysterious yellow paper-like item out of his pocket and putting it down his trousers.
Cricket Australia have since confirmed that they will launch their own investigation, and that additional action will be taken against those involved.
While Clarke admits that he was “appalled” by what Australia’s leadership group did, he hopes that Smith will keep hold of the captaincy, even though there are mounting calls for him to step down.
“If I was asked by the right people, then I would think about my answer,” Clarke said on the Nine Network as quoted by SBS News. “When I look at that, Steve Smith wants to captain Australia. In my heart, I believe he has just made a really, really bad mistake.
“I hope there can be a way around this, that he can continue to captain Australia.”
When prodded further as to whether he would contemplate coming out of retirement, Clarke said: “This is so raw right now. This is not about me at all.
“This is about Australian cricket and the future of Australian cricket and where these current players and this current structure and leadership sits, and my job is to make sure I can help this game come back from this.
“I work for Channel Nine and I sit on this desk today and I really hope that that young man finds a way to be able to captain Australia.”
Meanwhile, former South Africa captain Simon Katich firmly believes that Smith, vice-captain David Warner and head coach Darren Lehmann should be removed from their respective positions.
“I guess from my point of view I think when Cricket Australia front the media, they’ve got no option but to stand and then sack Smith, Warner and Lehmann,” Katich told SEN as quoted by foxsports.com.au. “They’ve got no option because this was premeditated and calculated at the break and those guys are in charge of Cameron Bancroft behaving the way he did.
“It’s a bigger problem than that, he’s been instructed to do this and anyone in cricket knows the captain and coach are responsible for what happens in the team.”
However, ex-Australia batsman Adam Voges, also speaking to SEN, had a different outlook on the matter.
“Personally, I agree with him, he is the right man for the job albeit he has made a mistake,” he said. “I think there’s so many good things he does do that this is one very poor lack of judgment on his behalf and on the team’s behalf. But going forward in my opinion he’s still the right man for the job.”
Despite thinking that Smith should retain the captaincy, Voges conceded that the 28-year-old and Bancroft have to work extremely hard to regain the respect they lost.
“This has tarnished both their reputations and they’re going to have to work hard to win back the respect of not only the cricketing world, but the general public as well,” Voges said. “It’s something that (Bancroft) will have to live with as a player, his name will be tarnished.
“As will Steve Smith’s given the whole leadership group was aware of the plan. There’s genuine remorse about this decision, it’s a really poor mistake on their behalf and something they’ll both have to live with, as will the reputation of the Australian cricket team.”