Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 17th 2013 Contents A50
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, June 17, 2013
Michael Clarke has admitted the off-field
drama surrounding the Australia team has
affected preparation for his side s must-win
group match against Sri Lanka, but said Aus-
tralia remained focused on achieving their first
win of the tournament, and progressing to the
Australia must defeat Sri Lanka to earn a
semi-finals place, and if England win their final
group match against New Zealand, they must
win well enough to outdo New Zealand s net
run rate. They lost their opening match to Eng-
land by 48 runs, and had the second match
"The feeling in the camp has obviously been
a little bit different over the past few days because
there s been a little bit of disappointment in one
of our players," Clarke said. "But I can guarantee
you we left it there - after I did the press con-
ference a couple of days ago now - and now
we re looking forward. Our focus has been prepa-
ration for this game against Sri Lanka and staying
focused on what s important.
"The rain played a part in interrupting training
yesterday, but a lot of the guys came and trained
indoors. The day before, we trained really well
as a team, and I know all the guys are looking
forward to playing against Sri Lanka tomorrow."
Clarke was uncertain if he would be available
to play, but expressed confidence in George
Bailey, who led the side in the first two matches.
Bailey hit a fifty in each of those games, and
has been a consistent middle order presence
since breaking into the ODI side, having main-
tained an average of 46---which improves slightly
when he is leading. Clarke was ruled out of the
early part of the tournament due to a flare-up
of a long-standing back injury.
"I think George [Bailey] has done a great job.
I think his performances over the past four
months have been outstanding for us in one day
cricket. He continues to lead from the front,
and I think he s captained the team really well
in my absence and will do again tomorrow if
I m unavailable to play."
"My back is feeling ok. I ll have to train today
with the boys and see how I pull up tomorrow.
But I m hopeful, there s no doubt about that."
Clarke also had praise for Adam Voges, who
he hoped would help add leadership and stability
to what has at times been a brittle batting order.
Voges hit 71 in the last match against New
Zealand and averages 51.50 in 19 ODIs.
"Vogey brings a lot of experience. He s a class
player and has been in first class cricket for a
long time. His one day record for Australia is
outstanding. So I guess he s coming in trying
to fill that Michael Hussey role batting at five
and six for us, but also with the experience and
leadership that he brings. He s a great guy, I love
having him around and it s really nice to see
him batting as well as he is at the moment."
There are few better experts on
captaincy in Sri Lanka than Mahela
Jayawardene, who was so well-
respected in the role that the selec-
tors effectively forced a second stint
In his first four years in the job,
Sri Lanka enjoyed a period defined
as much by the allure of their cricket
as their success in Tests and ODIs.
Test series victories over India, Eng-
land and South Africa (the 2006 loss
remains their last defeat away from
home), an Asia Cup title and an
impressive 2007 World Cup cam-
paign were among his achievements
as a leader, and Sri Lanka rose to
No. 2 in the world rankings across
all formats soon after his initial res-
Late last year, Jayawardene
announced he would not captain Sri
Lanka beyond the year-end tour of
Australia, because it was time for
Sri Lanka to produce a young leader
while he and the other seniors
remained in the team to provide
guidance. Angelo Mathews has long
been the heir for Sri Lanka, and he
took over the ODI and Test captaincy
Mathews has the unreserved sup-
port of both seniors and the younger
group in his side, and his nerveless
temperament in high-pressure sit-
uations had made his leadership
potential plain early in his career.
He has only played five ODIs since
taking the reins but, as Sri Lanka
attempt to progress to the semi-
finals of the Champions Trophy,
Jayawardene emphasised the impor-
tance for Mathews to be among the
runs and wickets, even as he learns
the art of leadership at the top level.
"The most important thing is that
Angie contributes as a player, which
I ve told him as well," Jayawardene
said. "He s a part of the XI, so it s
not just about him as a captain---
that s a secondary thing that will
naturally come to him when he is
making calls around the field. There
are a few senior heads out there as
well, who can help him with that."
Mathews had had mixed results
as captain before arriving in England.
Bangladesh drew their first-ever Test
against Sri Lanka on a flat pitch in
Galle under Mathews watch, before
winning their first-ever ODI on Sri
Lankan soil, to draw the one-day
series. Mathews had captained his
side to a 2-0 Twenty20 victory in
Australia in January, but the Twen-
ty20 captaincy has since been hand-
ed to Dinesh Chandimal in the Feb-
ruary leadership shake-up.
Australia coach Mickey Arthur
has conceded it would be a gam-
ble to select David Warner for
the first Investec Ashes Test at
Trent Bridge, which starts on July
10, given the batsman will not
have played any competitive
cricket in the preceding month.
Warner was stood down from the
team after throwing a punch at
Joe Root in a Birmingham bar on
Sunday night, and has since been
suspended from playing for Aus-
tralia until the first Test of the
Australia are scheduled to play
two four-day tour matches ahead
of the series, and may yet progress
to the knockout stages of the
ongoing Champions Trophy.
Warner has not played any Test
cricket since Australia s ill-fated
tour of India, in March.
"Hypothetically, it would be a
risk," Arthur said. "He wouldn t
have had any cricket - but he
would have had training. We ve
got plans to give him some cen-
tre-wicket practice. I guess it s an
opportunity for other members in
the squad to stand up in the first
two practice games, because if
they do that, they ve got a real
good chance of starting that first
"A centre-wicket is the only
way we can almost replicate match
conditions. That s what we ll be
trying to do with Dave while the
boys are playing against Somerset
Warner has already switched to
a Test training programme while
his team-mates prepare for the
virtual quarter-final against Sri
Lanka, and Arthur outlined a com-
mitment to accommodating
Warner s unique situation at train-
ing in the next few weeks.
"We ve got to give David the
first possible chance and the best
possible preparation to be ready
for the first Test match - if we
select him. He comes down early
and we get our work done with
him. He s now gone from the
white ball to the red ball. He s
working daily on that and I think
that s right. We ve got to service
our player to make sure that he s
ready to go, come the Ashes."
Arthur was reluctant to explain
how details of the incident on
Sunday night were relayed to team
management, choosing to label
those details "irrelevant", as
Michael Clarke had the previous
day. He was, however, keen to
impress that the attack and its
repercussions have not detracted
from his side s preparations at the
front-end of a long tour.
Clarke remains hopeful
as Aussies eye Sri Lanka
Warner Ashes 'risk'
Jayawardene praise for Mathews' captaincy
Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene are among the former Sri
Lanka captains whose experience Angelo Mathews can call on.
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