Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 5th 2013 Contents A65
For most of his first
five weeks in England,
Michael Clarke has
been defined less by
what he was than what
he wasn t.
To begin with, Clarke
wasn t fit. He wasn t in
Birmingham for the
Walkabout fiasco, then
he wasn t taking part in
any of the Champions
When Mickey Arthur was
sacked, Clarke wasn t a decision-
maker nor, it emerged, anymore a
member of the selection panel.
Throughout Darren Lehmann s
assured first 10 days as coach,
Clarke wasn t even the primary
spokesman for the team.
On the third day in Worcester,
in his final innings before the
first Test at Trent Bridge, Clarke
Taking advantage of a docile
pitch and an amiable attack,
he bounded to a century in
90 balls, confirming the
return of batting touch and
confidence at precisely the
right moment before the serious stuff begins.
Most importantly of all, Clarke played without
any hint of the back trouble that had flared on his
arrival, and can now travel to Nottingham with
confidence about his ability to play the sorts of
innings Australia so desperately need from him.
Phillip Hughes was similarly arresting as he
helped Clarke set Worcestershire a target of 457 to
win, which by the close they had reduced to 393
for the loss of Nick Compton s wicket.
The day after asserting that he had not been
given "fair crack of the whip" by England s selectors,
Compton was lured down the pitch by the young
spinner Ashton Agar and neatly stumped by Brad
Agar s teasing spell in the final session was another
sign of promise for the tourists, who have rather
less to worry about now than a week ago.
That is not to say they are in completely fine
fettle. Ed Cowan fell for another of his maddeningly
mediocre scores, having been dropped without
scoring, though he was unhappy to be given out
lbw for 34.
In four innings on tour so far his top score is
58, not substantial enough tallies should he occupy
the No 3 berth at Trent Bridge as now appears like-
ly.Ryan Harris and Jackson Bird also failed to harvest
any wickets with the new ball.
They did better in the morning when Worces-
tershire were rolled up for 284.
Bird claimed the standout innings figures with
4 for 48, while Harris showed decent rhythm and
Harris was left very much in Bird s wake on the
second day, but regathered some ground on the
Gareth Andrew snicked behind to Haddin before
Jack Shantry was beaten for pace and angle from
round the wicket to have his stumps splayed.
Bird beat the bat numerous times in his early
spell but was relieved by James Faulkner, who
bowled the last man Chris Russell.
It was Cowan who joined Rogers in sprinting off
to open the batting, Watson again being held back
in the order following his first innings performance
just as he had been against Somerset at Taunton.
Cowan was handed an instant reprieve, dropped
in the slips by Moeen Ali before he had scored.
Rogers was also helped by a few fortunate edges
before more full-blooded strokes ensued.
The Australians appeared likely to reach lunch
without interruption, but a few minutes before the
interval Rogers was pinned lbw by Ali s off break
from around the wicket.
The order then maintained its elastic and prepara-
tory nature, Hughes moving from No 6 up to 3 and
making a fluent start in sunshine that grew brighter
by the minute.
Cowan played soundly enough into the 30s, before
trying to swish Shantry to leg and being given lbw.
He looked pointedly at his bat on the way off the
ground, but after the dropped catch on nought
there was less reason for sympathy.
Entering at No 4 for the fourth innings in suc-
cession, Clarke promptly set about Worcestershire s
bowling with freedom of shots as well as movement,
his back appearing to be less restrictive than at any
stage of the tour so far.
He encouraged a more aggressive posture from
Hughes, and the pair entertained another plentiful
crowd by cavaliering to a stand of 132 in 123 balls.
Mushfiqur Rahim has strongly
criticised the BCB for appointing
him as a short-term captain,
saying it would make it difficult
for him to set goals and would
affect future captains too. Mush-
fiqur was retained till the end of
this year, which effectively
means he will be in charge for
only the home series against
New Zealand in October---the
rest of the season s international
fixtures fall in 2014.
"I think this is the only crick-
eting nation that appoints the
captain on a series-by-series
basis," Mushfiqur said.
"To be honest, it is very wrong
for a cricketer. It is difficult to
set a goal if you don t know for
sure how long you will be a cap-
"So in that way, it is very dif-
ficult to be a captain on a series-
by-series basis. And it is not just
for me, but for every future cap-
"The board isn t thinking long-
term, so it doesn t matter if I
think long-term or not. These
five months actually amount to
just one series.
"I will give my 100 per cent as
captain and player, and make sure
the rest of the team does the
After he resigned from the post
in May this year during the Zim-
babwe tour, Mushfiqur was con-
vinced to stay by BCB chief Naz-
But there was apparently no
discussion on the period he will
This is, however, not the first
time the board has resorted to
Shakib Al Hasan had a long-
running dispute after he was
repeatedly given just one series
to lead at a time.
It almost led to his resignation
in 2010 when he refused to lead
until he was named captain for
After Shakib was sacked in
mid-2011, Mushfiqur was first
given two series to lead in the
He was then named captain till
the 2013 Zimbabwe tour. But the
board has now returned to the
It is expected that Mushfiqur
will be asked to continue after
the New Zealand series (as was
the practice during Shakib s
Unlike Shakib, however, the
incumbent captain has declined
to take the fight to the board.
"I can never discuss it (being
captain till the 2015 World Cup)
with the board. If they recognise
me as a good enough leader, they
can tell me. Whether I would do
it then is another matter.
"For the benefit of Bangladesh
cricket, the captain must be given
a longer term. It will happen in
the near future, I hope."
MS Dhoni, who injured his
right hamstring during India s
tri-series opener in the West
Indies, is likely to be ruled out
for India s short tour to Zim-
babwe that begins July 24.
If Dhoni is indeed unavailable,
Gautam Gambhir is likely to earn
a recall into the team.
While announcing India s
squad for the Champions Trophy
on May 4, the national selectors
had also named 21 probables for
the ongoing tri-series in the West
Besides the 15 who featured in
India s victorious Champions
Trophy campaign, the probables
included Ambati Rayudu, Manoj
Tiwary, Praveen Kumar, Shami
Ahmed, Rahul Sharma and
Gambhir. Shami replaced Irfan
Pathan after the latter injured
himself while training for the
West Indies tri-series.
Rayudu came in for Dhoni who
was ruled out of the tri-series on
With Tiwary, the only other
specialist batsman in the list,
having twisted his left knee,
Gambhir remains the only viable
candidate to lend solidity to what
has become an inexperienced
India batting line-up.
With his experience, Gambhir
could also come in handy as a
member of the leadership group,
thus helping Virat Kohli, who is
set to be retained as captain in
the event of Dhoni s unavailabil-
to be recalled for
Friday, July 5, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
at New Road.
Worcestershire 284 (Compton 79, Mitchell
65, Bird 4-48) and 64 for 1 need 393 to beat
Australians 396 for 4 dec and 341 for 5 dec
(Clarke 124, Hughes 86).
Mushfiqur unhappy with
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