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Clarke ends first year in winning style

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    Michael Clarke’s record in his first 12 months as Australia’s Test captain has gone from good to great after the 2-0 series win in the Caribbean.

    Friday’s 75-run win over the West Indies in Dominica means Clarke has won nine of the 14 Tests since he took over the captaincy permanently from Ricky Ponting last April.

    In that time Clarke has overseen series wins away from home against Sri Lanka and the West Indies, shared a series on the road with the highly-rated South Africans and crushed India 4-0 during the domestic summer.

    Only December’s loss to New Zealand in Hobart, which earned the Kiwis a 1-1 series result, can be seen as a stumble in Clarke’s captaincy run.

    That defeat though appears to be a turning point for Clarke’s team, which is yet to give up a series and has climbed from fifth in the world Test rankings after the 2010-11 Ashes humiliation to third.

    Since Hobart, Clarke’s men have won six of seven Tests with only the rain-marred draw against the Windies in Trinidad preventing a clean sweep.

    But the man himself believes it was the darkest moment of his captaincy – being dismissed for a mere 47 against South Africa in Cape Town – which really taught him and his teammates a valuable lesson.

    “Hobart was disappointing, to lose that game, but I think sometimes you need to see both sides,” Clarke said.

    “You need to experience both sides of the coin.

    “Cape Town showed us how quickly things can change for the worse and then to be able to pull off a win in Jo’burg, and we’re talking about a very strong Test cricket team in their own backyard, to be able to level that series was a great learning curve for us.

    “We probably saw a little of that again against New Zealand.

    “There are highs and lows in this game and you’re going to experience both, whether you like it or not individually as a player.

    “That gave us the opportunity as a team to see that it doesn’t matter what opposition you play against, if you’re not at your best, you’re going to get beaten.

    “We continue to learn, especially, from those two games, from Cape Town and Hobart.”

    Clarke’s biggest challenge is still over 12 months away, trying to win back and then defend the Ashes with successive campaigns against England in 2013.

    But it was a challenge he refused to discuss before leaving the Caribbean, focusing instead on his team’s bid to climb back to the top of the world rankings.

    “It’s not just about one series or one summer,” Clarke said.

    “It’s about consistency over a period of time that gets you to the No.1 team in the world.

    “We want to continue to win as many games of cricket as we can. If we look after that you’ll see the Australian team will continue to go up the rankings.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (16)

    • April 29th 2012 @ 2:35pm
      Evan Askew said | April 29th 2012 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

      Oh well, he has already beaten Kim Hughes. And he has had more wins than Alan Border had between 1984 and the Ashes tour of 1989. Which goes to show we’re not doing as badly as some people think.

    • April 29th 2012 @ 7:37pm
      Blaze said | April 29th 2012 @ 7:37pm | ! Report

      Winning is winning, wether its ugly or otherwise…

    • April 30th 2012 @ 10:48am
      Australian Rules said | April 30th 2012 @ 10:48am | ! Report

      Clarke is proving to be a smart, dynamic captain…who is also scoring buckets of runs.

      I do hope all those that trashed him when he took the post, are now putting their hands up to admit, at the very least, “maybe we were wrong”.

    • April 30th 2012 @ 11:05am
      Jason said | April 30th 2012 @ 11:05am | ! Report

      He was the first captain in 26 years not to win a home series against NZ.

      • April 30th 2012 @ 12:41pm
        Australian Rules said | April 30th 2012 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

        And with that…Jason’s credibility whizzes down the drain…

        • April 30th 2012 @ 2:40pm
          Jason said | April 30th 2012 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

          Apologies – that should have said “lost a test to NZ”.

      • April 30th 2012 @ 2:03pm
        Vas Venkatramani said | April 30th 2012 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

        He is also the first captain in 12 years to cleansweep India on home soil… what’s your point Jason?

        • April 30th 2012 @ 2:38pm
          Jason said | April 30th 2012 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

          It’s hardly a “great” start if you can’t even beat NZ at home.

          • April 30th 2012 @ 3:15pm
            Australian Rules said | April 30th 2012 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

            There’s that whizzing sound again.

            You ignore the clean sweep of India and series win in W.I…and instead focus on one game…a game which saw a bizarre Australian collapse on the greenest pitch in cricket.

            • April 30th 2012 @ 3:26pm
              Jason said | April 30th 2012 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

              On top of the bizarre Australian collapse a couple of weeks earlier.

              Ignoring the 5th Ashes test debacle, he’s won 3 and drawn 2 test series. By any measure that’s good – maybe even very good – without being great.

          • April 30th 2012 @ 3:35pm
            Vas Venkatramani said | April 30th 2012 @ 3:35pm | ! Report

            Why is it not a great start if he can’t EVEN beat NZ at home? What is it about the inflated sense of self-entitlement that some Australian fans feel it’s their divine right to beat countries like NZ and SL? Australia did not lose in Hobart because of Michael Clarke, but a whole failure among the entire group (except Warner) to survive in green conditions.

            Clarke’s record reads 9 wins, 2 draws and 3 losses. That’s a record every fair-minded Australian fan would be delighted with.

            And Jason, in case you think I’m being charitable, keep in mind Stephen Waugh is the only Australian captain to lose a Test match to Sri Lanka. Does that make him “hardly a great Test captain” with only 41 wins, nine losses and seven draws to his record?

            • April 30th 2012 @ 3:55pm
              Jason said | April 30th 2012 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

              “What is it about the inflated sense of self-entitlement that some Australian fans feel it’s their divine right to beat countries like NZ and SL? ”

              Well 26 years of not losing to NZ might be a start.

              “keep in mind Stephen Waugh is the only Australian captain to lose a Test match to Sri Lanka. Does that make him “hardly a great Test captain” with only 41 wins, nine losses and seven draws to his record?”

              Steve Waugh didn’t have a great start to his Test captaincy career either given the clumsy draw in the West Indies and the loss in Sri Lanka.

              • May 1st 2012 @ 8:45am
                Vas Venkatramani said | May 1st 2012 @ 8:45am | ! Report

                So, are you saying Jason that because Australia has had a good record for 26 years against one country, it gives you the right to be an arrogant twat when we lose.

                If the price we have to pay for our success as a team is to lose once every 26 years to NZ, that’s a price most people will gladly pay. And good on New Zealand for making cricket more interesting as a result of that game in Hobart. We need upsets, because then arrogance such as yours becomes the minority.

                All I know is if Clarke continues the way he’s started, then no one will care that we lost to NZ by the time he hangs up the boots…

    • April 30th 2012 @ 2:21pm
      jameswm said | April 30th 2012 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

      I think just about everyone would have been happy with the results he’s managed since taking over, plus the way he’s done it. Smart, aggressive play, without the stroppiness.

      We’ll see how tough he is against SA and England, but so far so good.

      Just need to sort out our top order and get Watto to 5-6 (I sound like a broken record).

      • April 30th 2012 @ 4:58pm
        Rhys said | April 30th 2012 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

        James, that’s what has impressed me the most about Clarke’s captaincy – the way he’s done the job. I’m certain as time goes on, and as the last of the old guard move on, Clarke will further stamp his style and authority on the Aussie team.

    • May 2nd 2012 @ 5:52am
      Ironmonger said | May 2nd 2012 @ 5:52am | ! Report

      I always thought it was a national tragedy that Warney wasn’t Captain, so to hear Clarke say he credits his aggressive tactical play to Warney warms the cockles. I think this team (sans Haddin) could win the Ashes series IF the openers can start to consistently get big partnerships ( obvious I know).

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