The darker side of Michael Clarke

Rickety Knees Roar Guru

By Rickety Knees, Rickety Knees is a Roar Guru

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    Australia's captain Michael Clarke throws a ball during a cricket practice match between Australia and Sri Lanka Board XI in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

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    It is important to acknowledge that Michael Clarke has averaged better than 70 per Test innings since taking over the Australian captaincy.

    Clearly his batting has evolved since he was given this esteemed role.

    But does an individual with individual gifts honed to excellence automatically make a good leader?

    Not necessarily.

    As a leader it is important to avoid hypocrisy.

    For example a younger Michael Clarke placed Lara Bingle above a team function (and rightfully incurred the ire of Simon Katich) and an older Michael Clarke suspended his players for not complying with another team function.

    Leading people is not easy. Inspirational leadership can inspire people to die for their country. In the case of the military, Victoria Crosses are won by those prepared to sacrifice their lives for others.

    Conversely autocratic, fear-based leadership results in people doing the minimum to get by, and in some cases to rebel.

    In taking the extreme decision to suspend a player from playing for his country for failure to fill out a team evaluation form, Clarke has introduced fear as his major management tool.

    The question needs to be asked whether this would have happened had Clarke not also been a selector.

    Clarke has also displayed a level of vindictiveness in Simon Katich’s exclusion from the side, when he was one of the top five batsmen in the world, a position which has not been adequately filled since.

    After suffering a most humiliating recent defeat in India, a clear benefit for the selectors is that by suspending players has been to deflect any criticism for team selection and game strategy away from them and onto the players.

    Clarke needs to ask himself what he wants from his players, and in doing so how is he going to inspire them to do so.

    Respected for aeons as a great cricket nation, Australia has now become the laughing stock of the cricketing world.

    It is going to be a long way back from here for Michael Clarke and Australian cricket.

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    The Crowd Says (43)

    • March 14th 2013 @ 6:37am
      Sal said | March 14th 2013 @ 6:37am | ! Report

      In all fairness, Clarke’s overreaction is largely due to the fact that he’s a new captain who hadn’t tasted brutal failure until now with no light of success at the end of the tunnel on this tour. I think this mishap can be a learning experience that can allow him to overcome and flourish into a strong leader. However, the window of opportunity to reflect is short, given the pace of scheduled games these days.

      How he redeems himself in the next few weeks will determine the path for success/failure of the Australian cricket team.

      • March 14th 2013 @ 10:02pm
        Deep Thinker said | March 14th 2013 @ 10:02pm | ! Report

        I don’t think it is in the spirit of this forum to defend Michael Clarke.

        He is not a new captain. Anyway, he is not new to the leadership group. He was also vice-captain for a number of years under Ponting and was groomed for the position the moment he joined the test team.

        Anyway, Mickey Arthur is not new to coaching and should have counselled him against such extreme, unjustified, bullying, morale-sapping, behaviour. He is a power-hungry dictator who needs to be reigned in.

        Plain and simple.

        • January 30th 2015 @ 6:20pm
          Don Freo said | January 30th 2015 @ 6:20pm | ! Report

          You are an absolute loop, JT.

          Do you think no one in Australia follows cricket? Do you think no one can make up their own minds.

          Did they parole you…or did you escape?

        • January 30th 2015 @ 6:21pm
          Don Freo said | January 30th 2015 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

          Mickey Arthur? This is 2015.

          • February 1st 2015 @ 2:09am
            13th Man said | February 1st 2015 @ 2:09am | ! Report

            these comments are from 2013
            just pointing it out in case you might have missed it.

    • March 14th 2013 @ 8:27am
      Xiedazhou said | March 14th 2013 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      The self centred and vindictive side of Clarke was first exposed to the public when he had Symonds thrown off the one day side for missing a minor (rescheduled) team meeting in the days before an exhibition match in Darwin. There have been other dressing room clashes with team mates (Martyn) and opponents. There is no doubt he repeatedly put his relationship with Bingle before the Australian team. There was not just the Katich incident. He left two test tours (WI and NZ) for personal reasons related to his girlfriend (she was not his wife). Clarke apparently also failed to give Hussey the final night with the team that that legend wanted and deserved, and then also had a role in Hussey’s non selection for the ODI team following his Test retirement.

      As for the latest incident, Clark has shown that he does not understand the basic tenets of discipline. He, and Arthur have reacted with frustration and anger and meted out unprecedented and excessive punishment. In doing so they unjustly treated repeat offenders and first time offenders equally. Reactionary discipline, meted out arbitarily, and following obvious laxness and failure to address the issues when and where they arose is exceedingly poor management. This is not an example of strength in leadership, it is a clarion example of weakness and failure of leadership.

      • Roar Guru

        March 14th 2013 @ 11:18am
        Rellum said | March 14th 2013 @ 11:18am | ! Report

        If anyone is putting the Australian Cricket team ahead of their family then they need help.

        • March 15th 2013 @ 2:34pm
          Haz said | March 15th 2013 @ 2:34pm | ! Report


          My respect for Michael Clarke went up for putting family first. There are *gasp! horror!* more important things than cricket.

          And no, he wasn’t married to Lara Bingle, but it was a pretty long-term relationship by that point.

        • March 15th 2013 @ 11:06pm
          WoobliesFan said | March 15th 2013 @ 11:06pm | ! Report

          She was dying was she?

          On her deathbed?…….little princess had a drama fit….nothing more, nothing less……disgrace that he left the team for that.

          • August 4th 2013 @ 4:58pm
            Clevo said | August 4th 2013 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

            It’s actually a myth that he wanted to leave the team sheds to meet Lara Bingle.
            He was actually taking the 3 or so debutants of that test out for drinks and a feed

      • March 14th 2013 @ 5:10pm
        Sandy said | March 14th 2013 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

        My thoughts exactly Xiedazhou.

      • March 18th 2013 @ 9:36am
        snowygeorge said | March 18th 2013 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        My dear Xiexdazhou I,m with you %100 Clarke is a very good player but have no idea what captain mean.

    • Roar Guru

      March 14th 2013 @ 9:22am
      sheek said | March 14th 2013 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      Gee Rickety,

      This is an excellent piece. I hadn’t thought this through quite as well as you have.

      But you have highlighted Clarke’s recent past quite well. “Do as I say, not as I do” leaders turn out to be quite the worst kind of leaders eventually.

      A lot of today’s ultra-sensitive generation can’t abide Ian Chappell’s philosophy of ‘tough love.’ But from seeing him in the 70s & numerous articles I’ve read since, his team mates from the 70s would follow him over a cliff. This is because Chappelli led from the front, & went in to bat for the team’s welfare against management.

      He not only talked the talk, but walked the walk, & his team mates lionize him for it.

      Contrast this with Clarke, who’s been happy to appear on TV & highlight his team mates’ flaws in public.

      George Bernard Shaw humorously opined, “I can cope with adversity….. (pause)….. another man’s, I mean.”

      It now seems Clarke is all talk about sacrifice, as long as he isn’t the one required to do it.

      • Roar Guru

        March 14th 2013 @ 9:42am
        Rickety Knees said | March 14th 2013 @ 9:42am | ! Report

        Cheers Sheek – a Zen Master once said “you will hear many words in your life and not remember one, but you will never forget how somebody made you feel”. How the players now feel under Clarke’s leadership is a moot point. Clarke, as selector, has been placed above the team and is behaving accordingly.

        It will be interesting to see if he now moves to 3 in the batting order, which IMHO would be the right move. However, the future of the team is dependent on Clarke actually seeing himself as part of the team and therefore also accountable for them on all levels as their captain and leader – adhering to the time honoured law of “what goes on tour – stays on tour”.

    • Roar Rookie

      March 14th 2013 @ 11:12am
      Reccymech said | March 14th 2013 @ 11:12am | ! Report

      Are some of us remembering those halcyon days of Australian cricket – ala 60’s/70’s/purple patch 80’s (brutalised by the WI)/90’s? I replied in another piece that I reckon what we’re seeing is Gen Y in all it’s glory, and that the universe does centre around ‘me’.

      Drawing a longbow, but, maybe the Baggy Green doesn’t hold it’s prestige in a modern world where money abounds for those who seek fame & fortune.

    • March 14th 2013 @ 11:46am
      Johnno said | March 14th 2013 @ 11:46am | ! Report

      The thing that annoys me, is the power Clarke wields. A good batsman aside, but wow he gets alots of credit points.
      The fact that he is able to be this divisive, and Cricket Australia seem to just let Clarke run the show is appaling, and he enjoys the ride.

      Other examples of star player’s thinking there above the team.

      Brian Lara was a selfish captain. who also like Clarke could be demanding and petulant, and fell out of favor with senior players, Carl Hooper and Courtney Walsh. This was when Brian Lara was at the peak of his cricketing powers, and the west indies were struggling, and needed Brian Lara, Big time far more than what Australia needs Micheal Clarke now , I would argue, as they had even less depth.

      Kevin Peterson was also a petualant captain who thought he was bigger than the team, and he was behind the dismissal of coach Peter Moores.

      Micheal Clarke, is selfish,divisive, and has a my way or the highway attitude it seems.

      And is like these 2 other stars.

      I accept in pro sport , not every one get’s along, and clearly Mick Clarke and Shane Watson respect each other but don’t like each other, there is a difference.

      But it shouldn’t come to the point, where it’s “either me or him attitude” which Micheal Clarke is displaying here, and he showed that with Katich, and now it seems Shane Watson.

      On Andrew Symonds, Ricky Ponting was the captain, and I don’t blame Clarke there. Ponting and Symonds, were close , and Symonds let the whole team down many times, and was given many chances, and Symonds also it seems thought he was bigger than the team.

      But the treatment of both Katich , and Watto is disgraceful, and I still can’t believe cricket Australia let Micheal Clarke wield so much power.

      Shane Warne was dropped by steve waugh once for the deciding 1999 west indies test in favour of Stuart Mcgill. He didn’t like it was very upset, steve waugh stood firm. But Shane Warne came back steve waugh, was open about the reasons, simply form and that was it, both got on with it , they weren’t best mates, but they were not petulant, like both Micheal Clarke and I believe shane watson are behaving, and more it seems Mick Clarke.

      Cricket Australia, just as what west indies cricket board did with Lara, and England cricket board did with Kevin Peterson, need to reign in Micheal Clarke , he is getting too big for his own boots.

      And when you make it clear he is not bigger than the team, and you don’t need him, it;s amazing how humbling these stars become.

      Brian Lara and Keven Peterson a case in point. They both shut up, and just got on with it.

      CA need to do the same to Micheal Clarke, I should mention a 32-yr old Micheal Clarke, not a 25 year old, so he only has mayb 3 or 4 years left, in the bigger picture.

      • March 17th 2013 @ 9:41pm
        Clavers said | March 17th 2013 @ 9:41pm | ! Report

        I don’t care what you say but …

        BRING BACK ROY!!!

        He would have torn the Indian spinners to pieces (and bowled at least as well as ours have).

    • Roar Guru

      March 14th 2013 @ 11:47am
      Andy_Roo said | March 14th 2013 @ 11:47am | ! Report

      I’m not sure that Clarke is saying ‘do as I say, not do as I do’. Perhaps he has changed his attitude in recent years and come to realise that leading by example is the right way to go. We all get wiser as we get older.

      And suggesting that the punishment over ‘homework-gate’ is all coming from Michael Clarke is wrong. The punishment comes from the team management, of which Michael Clarke is one member.

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