Katich versus Clarke: the next chapter

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    Michael Clarke denies the David Warner issue was dealt with inconsistently (AFP : Torsten Blackwood)

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    With global cricketing attention focused on how three Pakistani spot-fixers are dealt with in a court in England, a far less significant but no less interesting cricketing drama has been receiving plenty of interest within Australia.

    The next instalment of “Katich versus Clarke” has been playing out following Simon Katich’s remarks recently that he believes Australian captain Michael Clarke had an input into Cricket Australia’s decision not to offer him a new contract despite his form suggesting he deserved one.

    In making these comments, Katich reignited the feud that has simmered for some time between these two New South Welshmen.

    In 2009 it is believed Katich grabbed Clarke by the throat in the SCG change rooms following a disagreement while celebrating a victory against South Africa.

    The cause of the conflict was said to be Clarke’s desire to have the team song done-and-dusted so that he could have dinner with his then partner Lara Bingle, while Katich believed Clarke should get his priorities in order.

    The public’s reaction to the most recent instalment of this feud has been telling. Generally, a dumped player whinging about his sacking and suggesting there were forces at play that weren’t acknowledged at the time would be viewed as the ramblings of a bitter ex-player with a case of sour grapes.

    Instead, the public has rallied behind the axed Katich and against the incumbent captain Clarke. In Katich, the public sees a man not afraid to ruffle a few feathers and speak his mind.

    In an era of media-trained athletes where a cliché is never far away, Katich is not afraid to go against the grain and tell it how he sees it. That is not to say that Katich is an out-and-out rogue, or inclined to rally against the system without just cause.

    At one point Katich himself was viewed as a future Australian Test captain. Following the fallout from the spiteful Sydney Test match against India in early 2008, highly regarded Fairfax cricket writer Peter Roebuck suggested that Katich – at that point not in the Test side – should be captaining the Australian side, and not the incumbent Ricky Ponting.

    While Katich is seen as gruff, likeable and direct, the same cannot be said for Michael Clarke, who suffers from a lack of public support.

    To my mind, the heavy criticism Clarke draws is excessive, although there is no doubt that Clarke has an image problem, which appears twofold.

    Firstly, Clarke bares a resemblance to a slightly aloof kid at high school who holds himself with an air suggesting he thinks he is better than everyone else, without outwardly suggesting as much. Intentional or not, Clarke conveys a self-assured smugness which gets people offside.

    The second facet at the heart of Clarke’s image problem is the sense that he lacks authenticity. On occasions Clarke comes across as a man who has undertaken far too much media training, which means he can say a lot while saying very little interesting.

    Following another of Clarke’s tepid responses during interviews, I’ve often found myself wishing the interviewer would say to Clarke: “That’s all well and good, but what do you really think?”

    Despite Cricket Australia publicly stating that the door is not closed on any player’s hopes of representing Australia, Katich would be well aware that while Clarke remains captain of the side, no amount of runs for New South Wales will see him re-enter the Test side.

    And maybe it was this realisation that lead Katich to make his controversial remarks. With nothing to lose, why not give it to Clarke and Cricket Australia in turn with both barrels?

    Follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelFilosi

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    The Crowd Says (20)

    • November 7th 2011 @ 8:35am
      Al from ctown said | November 7th 2011 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      Really? Again? Meh….

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    • November 7th 2011 @ 8:40am
      Chris said | November 7th 2011 @ 8:40am | ! Report

      I would disagree with the opinion that Clarke has a “self-assured smugness” – that’s rather unfair. In fact I don’t really have a problem with Clarke himself at all. The main issue I see is that he was annointed as Ponting’s successor way too early. As such, the expectations on him have been all out of proportion.

      I do think Ponting should have retired a couple of years ago – his reputation as one of the all-time great batsmen would have been without dispute. But because Clarke wasn’t yet ready to lead the team, I think both Ponting and the selectors decided to retain the status quo for too long. In hindsight handing over to Katich a couple of years ago might not have been such a bad thing. it would have refreshed the team, taken some of the pressure of Clarke and cemented Katich in the team at the top of the order.

      Oh well…

      • November 7th 2011 @ 11:33am
        jameswm said | November 7th 2011 @ 11:33am | ! Report

        I don’t think Ponting wanted to let go.

        Agree the early annointing put a lot of people off.

        Here’s a chance for Clarke to do immeasurable good to his own “brand”, by, if Hughes fails in SA, backing Katich to come back in to solidify the top of the order. That would take some balls.

        • November 7th 2011 @ 12:03pm
          Southern Waratah said | November 7th 2011 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

          As much as I’m a Katich fan and I’m sure he could paddle in a canoe over to South Africa and still score runs, with Warner opening for NSW and scoring runs he’d be the next in line for a gig, given some people in the media and CA circles suggest he has one of the better techniques of all the young brigade, I’ll be it won’t be long before he’s handed over a baggy green much to the discontent of the southern states…

          • Columnist

            November 7th 2011 @ 12:17pm
            Brett McKay said | November 7th 2011 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

            S-Tah, not to mention that Khawja is already over there and probably unlucky to lose his spot in the first place..

    • November 7th 2011 @ 8:41am
      lemo said | November 7th 2011 @ 8:41am | ! Report

      Agree Al – lets just watch the cricket and comment on that – these media types dont get it – we don’t care

    • November 7th 2011 @ 8:54am
      Al from ctown said | November 7th 2011 @ 8:54am | ! Report

      I hear ya lemo, bring on the cricket!

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    • November 7th 2011 @ 9:40am
      Matt F said | November 7th 2011 @ 9:40am | ! Report

      I agree with Al and lemo, this is yet another article on the subject over the past week, which all tell the exact same story without offering any new information.

      I know there’s a bit of a lull in sport at the moment with NRL/AFL over and international cricket not yet beginning but there must be something to cover? SFC’s comeback win, Brisbane/Victory, the run of Newcastle United in the EPL, the South Africa test series that starts in a few days? Maybe a Roar ban on Clarke/Katich articles, at least until katich’s CA hearing?

      • November 7th 2011 @ 10:18pm
        Team spirit said | November 7th 2011 @ 10:18pm | ! Report

        Maintain the rage I say. Clarke is a muppet and one of the reasons this cricket season will probably be the least watched in history. Katich is tthe type of person the average sport fan can relate to and enjoy watching, Clarke is not.

    • November 7th 2011 @ 9:52am
      Southern Waratah said | November 7th 2011 @ 9:52am | ! Report

      Katich isn’t employed by Cricket Australia, so I don’t see what the problem is with him having an opinion….

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