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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 @ 9:54am
      Happy Hooker said | November 7th 2011 @ 9:54am | ! Report

      What’s the saying? “Opinions are like bums; everyone’s got one”.

      Thankfully they don’t all clog up the blogosphere with them though.

    • November 7th 2011 @ 10:08am
      mushi said | November 7th 2011 @ 10:08am | ! Report

      It is odd that we decry media trained athletes when the reason they’ve become the norm is because we the public crucify them for mistakes.

    • November 7th 2011 @ 10:29am
      Eric said | November 7th 2011 @ 10:29am | ! Report

      And what is “the next chapter”?
      I don’t see any new information, or quotes from the parties. Ridiculous article.

    • November 7th 2011 @ 11:21am
      sledgeross said | November 7th 2011 @ 11:21am | ! Report

      Yeah, who would have thought someone could write an opinion piece on an opinion based sports forum???

      If you blokes dont want to read an article thats basically is just stating the truth, dont read it.

    • November 7th 2011 @ 1:59pm
      Ben said | November 7th 2011 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

      I find it strange that most people criticise Clarke over the infamous dressing room incident. From what I understand they had been in the rooms for a few hours before Clarke suggested they sing the song and move on – not too unreasonable I reckon but he’s copped a lot of flack for it. Kato loses his temper, grabs Clarke by the throat and that’s seemingly ok?! No excuses for that especially for someone with pretences to the Captaincy.

      • November 7th 2011 @ 2:21pm
        jameswm said | November 7th 2011 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

        Ben my undrstanding is they usually wait until the crowd has gone, and go out to the centre of an empty stadium to sing it. The crowd was still there, so they would have had to sing it in the sheds instead.

        • November 7th 2011 @ 5:09pm
          Ben said | November 7th 2011 @ 5:09pm | ! Report

          I guess we’ll never really know exactly what happened but I still think Katich’s behaviour in throttling another team mate is pretty poor and is largely ignored seemingly because it was Clarke that he was throttling!

    • November 7th 2011 @ 5:21pm
      jamesb said | November 7th 2011 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

      katich versus Clarke: the next chapter?


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