Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 5th 2013 Contents A54
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, December 5, 2013
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ADELAIDE---Michael Clarke isn t in Allan Border s
league just yet.
Border earned the nickname Captain Grumpy for
his taciturn manner during his decade-long reign
as test captain that started in Australia s gloom of
the 1980s and turned with a drought-breaking Ashes
win in England in 1989 that set the team on course
to reclaim the No 1-ranking.
By the Ashes series-opener in Brisbane last month,
Border was transformed into a cheerful broadcast
analyst and Clarke had taken on the role of the stern
skipper of a team that hadn t produced a win in
Asked yesterday if he was channeling Captain
Grumpy, Clarke replied bluntly: "Not at all."
In Brisbane, he would have left it right there.
But after a forced smile, and a long pause yesterday,
he relented slightly and continued: "But I did hear
that comment. I certainly haven t tried to be any
Clarke later laughed as he offered his suggestions
for England s starting lineup for the second Test
starting today after naming an unchanged Australian
XI for the first time in 12 months. The 381-run win
in the first Test has certainly helped the outward
He said the fact it s been so long since unchanged
teams in back-to-back tests "probably says we
haven t performed as well as we d like."
"If you look at our test record this year, it s certainly
not something to brag about."
The win in Brisbane was Australia s first since a
victory over Sri Lanka in January. After that, Clarke s
squad unraveled in a 4-0 series loss in India and
then lost a five-Test Ashes series 3-0 in England.
There s been plenty of off-field distractions in that
But there s been signs of a resurgence with a more
stable and composed group of players improving
under Darren Lehmann, who took over as coach
only weeks before the last Ashes series in England
after Mickey Arthur was suddenly fired.
Despite being well overdue, Clarke said the Bris-
bane victory "was only one win at the start of the
"Our celebration after Brisbane wasn t anything
like I have seen Australian teams celebrate when we
have had big wins like that," he said. "And that is
because everybody knows that we re a long
way from being the team we want to be."
The 32-year-old Clarke has won 13, lost
10 and drawn seven of his 30 Tests as cap-
tain, a job he was thrust into when Ricky
Ponting retired in 2011.
He initially polarised public opinion in
Australia, with as many detractors as sup-
porters because he didn t fit the no-non-
sense image of the likes of Border, Steve
Waugh and Ponting. But he has earned
respect with his bat, scoring 11 centuries
and averaging 62 since taking the helm,
including 113 in the second innings in Bris-
The Australians were more aggressive
than usual in the Ashes opener, with
Mitchell Johnson unsettling the England
batsmen with his consistently short-pitched
bowling and the match ending acrimo-
niously with Clarke yelling and pointing a
finger at England tailender Jimmy Anderson.
Clarke was later fined because one of his
curses was picked up in the TV broadcast.
Clarke denied the more aggressive
approach revolved around a push to recap-
ture the hostile approaches of Australian
teams in the 1970s and early 80s.
"I don t think we as a team are trying
to play like any other Australian team," he
said. "The team I walked into as a young
player, there was a certain brand of cricket
that they always tried to play---and that
"And by aggressive, I mean that you re
trying to take the game forward, it doesn t
mean getting into domestics on the field.
So when I talk about a brand of cricket,
that s all I ve ever known." (AP)
Clarke denies he's the new Captain Grumpy
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