Xtra Time Web Desk: He is known to speak his mind and is one of the sharpest brains to captain Australia. Needless to say, he is pained and frustrated with the way Australia has played in the Border Gavaskar Trophy so far. Can the Aussies bounce back in the test series or as Sourav Ganguly has predicted, India will win 4-0? He is quite amused that Andrew McDonald has not sought the help from Mathew Hayden and Mark Waugh, two of the best players of spin. Former Australian captain Michael Clarke opens up in the latest episode of Backstage with Boria Season 4.
Michael Clarke on Backstage with Boria Season 4 said, “I hope Australia can bounce back. For if they don’t it will be hugely frustrating for every Australian cricket fan. At the same time, I understand why Sourav has predicted 4-0. I don’t know what Andrew McDonald or anyone else will say but according to me Australia should have gone to India earlier. The preparation was not up to the mark at all. If you couldn’t go to India, you should have gone to the UAE at least to prepare for a tour like this. Also, you must play a tour game. To not play a tour game was a very wrong call. You can’t train for an India tour by trying to replicate conditions in Australia. It isn’t possible. To do so was a mistake. In England you expect seam, in Australia bounce and in India spin. You can’t say I will alter the conditions and win.”
Clarke questioned Aussie team management’s decision of not seeking the advice of Mathew Hayden and Mark Waugh on tour. According to Clarke, “Matt Hayden and Mark Waugh are both there in India as commentators. If I was in the Australian camp, I would want both of these men to be with the team at the nets every single day. If they want money give it to them. Even Hayden who used the sweep to perfection is saying on commentary that you can’t just sweep every ball or play the reverse sweep every ball. He knows it. You can play these shots when you are not out 80 not when you are on 8. Why can’t the management use these players? Why can’t they draw on their experience?”
The former Aussie skipper is quite impressed with the leadership of Rohit Sharma in the series so far. Talking about Rohit’s captaincy, Clarke said, “Rohit has been stellar. I think he is a superb captain. He has four fielders close to the bat when Australia has four on the boundary. That’s the difference. Rohit knows what he wants and is telling them to take risks. Virat is back at his best. You can see that in his eyes. And once he is back at his best you know the big knock is just round the corner. Ashwin and Jadeja I have already told you. So, in sum it is hard. Very hard for Australia. Sourav has said what he has knowing how hard it is.”
Clarke also had a go at the Australian media and former cricketers for their constant chatter on the wickets on offer in India. According to the left hander, “When you are going to India you absolutely know what you are up against. You know what kind of pitches you will get and let me say this clearly to you- India has done the exact correct thing by producing these sorts of wickets. They have been smart. They have used home advantage and are absolutely right in doing so. When a team comes to Australia, we always want to start them at the Gabba. We want to unsettle them with pace and bounce. We know it is the best way to use home advantage. If that’s not wrong why India has done can’t be wrong either. It isn’t wrong. Second, Ashwin and Jadeja are as good as anyone you will ever get in world cricket in these conditions. They are two greats of the modern game. You have to give them the respect they deserve and for that you needed to prepare well and prepare smart. Australia hasn’t done that.”
Finally, Clarke supported Indian team management’s decision to back KL Rahul. According to Clarke, “I think if the team is winning and believes he (KL Rahul) is an imp player he should be given another opportunity. If you think he should be backed and clearly the captain and coach, think so I have no problem in him being given another chance. Who knows he will come out and get a 100 for you. Had it been that you aren’t winning then it’s a diff story. But when you are winning, he can surely be backed.”