The familiar ring of the Michael Clarke rescue plan

Bill Peters Roar Rookie

By Bill Peters, Bill Peters is a Roar Rookie

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    After Michael Clarke’s revelation yesterday that he has contacted Cricket Australia with an offer to make a comeback to captain the Australian cricket team in its darkest moment, my first thought was, ‘Which presentation night was he at when he thought this was a good idea?’

    Every April I attend the Kiama Cricket Club presentation night, to see the season awards handed out and catch up with friends I spent my playing days on the cricket field with, with varied success.

    And every season over several beers, I announce that I am going to make a comeback next season, to help lead the club to success (that ironically, I didn’t experience too often when I was playing). This is greeted with kind words, but behind the eyes I see they understand the truth is that, even if I did wake up the following morning not regretting my bravado, my advancing years and lack of meaningful practice means it would all be a furphy…

    It is sometimes easy to forget how good Clarke was as an international batsman, and how astute his captaincy could be.

    He scored 8643 runs in Test cricket at 49.10, and only fell below the elite average of 50 in his final series, against England in 2015, where he scored 132 runs at 16.50.

    In 2012 he scored a triple century against India (329 not out in Sydney) and three further double centuries, at a time he appeared impossible to dismiss.

    Even though he was not a ‘slogger’ in one day cricket, at a time the game plan appeared to be calling for them, he found his spot in the middle order and made it his own.

    He fought constant back and hamstring injuries. He played a few of the most inspiring innings in recent times. His second innings century in Brisbane against England in 2013 – when he had been bounced out in the first innings – was all class. When Morne Morkel smashed him the same way in Cape Town six months later, his 161 not out was one of the highest bravery.

    His century against India on one leg in Adelaide, in what proved to be his final Test in Australia, was one for the ages.

    Australian captain Michael Clarke. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    Michael Clarke (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    Prior to his captaincy career, Clarke had some issues. The Lara Bingle relationship brought forward moments he would have preferred not to deal with publicly. The dressing room fracas with Simon Katich he would have preferred to have kept out of the media.

    Once installed as skipper, the homework saga in India in 2013 brought him unwanted pressure. He was openly ambitious from a young age and sometimes that may have got in the way.

    But his final 12 months in cricket saw his leadership shine – on and off the field.

    The tragic loss of Phillip Hughes brought Clarke to the fore, as he took the responsibility of not only helping the Hughes family through the situation, but also lead Australian cricket through it as well. His injury in the first Test against India looked as though it would end his career, but his single-minded effort to not only get himself fit for the 2015 World Cup, but to then lead Australia to the title and top score in the final was an amazing effort.

    All of this just reinforces the view that Clarke was one of our best batsmen since the turn of the century, and a skilful and knowledgeable captain. His figures from the 2015 series against England reveal that he was waning then, and that when he announced his retirement it was the right time to go.

    There is no shortage of ego, and no doubt he honestly believes that he could get himself back to his best, despite being out of the game for three years.

    On Friday night I will be attending this season’s Kiama Cricket Club presentation night, and I fully expect to once again start the process of making my comeback next season at the youthful age of 48, in order to restore the club’s on-field playing fortunes to its glory days.

    Despite Clarke’s heartfelt desire to come to the aid of Australian cricket, I expect that his offers for a return to the baggy green will be met with as much belief in its validity as my own exhortations.

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    The Crowd Says (51)

    • April 9th 2018 @ 4:55am
      riddler said | April 9th 2018 @ 4:55am | ! Report

      appreciate the article..

      but no thanks to anything michael clarke..

    • April 9th 2018 @ 7:56am
      Paul said | April 9th 2018 @ 7:56am | ! Report

      This is the same Michael Clarke who strongly encouraged really aggressive sledging as evidenced by his run in with Jimmy Anderson and did nothing to stop his players following his lead. This is not the type of leader Australia needs now.

      • Roar Guru

        April 9th 2018 @ 9:06am
        Chris Kettlewell said | April 9th 2018 @ 9:06am | ! Report

        His “run in with Jimmy Anderson” was actually him standing up for one of his players who Anderson was bullying. I don’t think there’s any issue there.

        • Roar Guru

          April 9th 2018 @ 10:07am
          JamesH said | April 9th 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

          Yeah I think Clarke lost his cool on the field a few times against players like Anderson and Steyn, but he never seemed like a big proponent of abusive sledging.

          • April 9th 2018 @ 10:11am
            jameswm said | April 9th 2018 @ 10:11am | ! Report

            Agreed, Anderson was doing his usual stuff and was sledging the short leg from memory. Not renowned as a big sledger.

            But also not the person to captain us out of this. Can’t see why Paine isn’t.

            • April 9th 2018 @ 2:08pm
              Neil Back said | April 9th 2018 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

              Jimmy was bullying the Aussie infield

              How much does a bag of chuff cost these days James?

              • April 10th 2018 @ 9:47am
                jameswm said | April 10th 2018 @ 9:47am | ! Report

                Following me again?

        • April 9th 2018 @ 11:59am
          Paul said | April 9th 2018 @ 11:59am | ! Report

          He went way over the top, Chris. Anderson was giving it to Bailey, who claimed he did or said nothing, then Clarke decided to tell Anderson he arrange to “break his f**ing arm”. Sorry, but in the current climate, that’s probably not what we need in a leadership role in Australian cricket.

          Completely agree he was an outstanding tactical skipper on the field but his man-management skills off the fiels left a lot to be desired.

        • April 9th 2018 @ 2:00pm
          Neil Back said | April 9th 2018 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

          A lone batsman bullying the Australian fielding side by sledging.

          That’s some bubble you live in Chris.

          • April 9th 2018 @ 8:33pm
            Mitcher said | April 9th 2018 @ 8:33pm | ! Report

            How unusual of you to take that particular position Neil. Keep at it.

            • April 10th 2018 @ 7:39am
              Neil Back said | April 10th 2018 @ 7:39am | ! Report

              Yep. The voice of reason and common sense Mitcher.

              Jimmy, the world class bat, standing at the crease alone, bullying the most vile of international cricket sledging teams to have walked the earth.

              You boys are as deluded as you are hysterical ….

              • Roar Guru

                April 10th 2018 @ 8:50am
                Chris Kettlewell said | April 10th 2018 @ 8:50am | ! Report

                Jimmy Anderson is one of the biggest bullies and sledgers the game has ever seen. Who’s the deluded one here. He towers over Bailey and was apparently making comments along the lines of punching him out after the game or something ridiculous. I know I’ve seen details elsewhere, can’t recall exactly, but it was along those lines.

              • April 10th 2018 @ 10:20am
                Neil Back said | April 10th 2018 @ 10:20am | ! Report

                Sure. As reported by?

                FFS Chris. Employ that neutral part of your brain, and engage some of your own reasoning to what would have been going on around that wicket – as it has for the past 30 years!

                Have you not been paying any attention lately?

              • April 10th 2018 @ 1:14pm
                Gray-Hand said | April 10th 2018 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

                As reported by:

                The Telegraph in the Uk;
                The ABC;
                The Australian;
                The Sydney Morning Herald;
                Lots of other places too.

                Just google ‘Anderson sledge Bailey’. He threatened to punch Bailey in the face.

                Anderson is a sledger of some note with a record of physically assaulting other players (from behind) off the field. Including Michael Clarke and Ravindran Jadeja.

              • April 10th 2018 @ 1:39pm
                Neil Back said | April 10th 2018 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

                Thanks genius. Perfectly aware of where it all came from – Warne reported he heard it on a stump mic, (heard nothing else apparently), the rest is selling papers.

                Still no further forward with you blokes, are we. Anderson strolled to the wicket as a world-renowned batsman and naturally started giving it out by telling George he wanted to punch him. Nothing more to it than that.

                Anderson was ‘bullying’ the Australian field …..give me strength …..

              • April 10th 2018 @ 2:15pm
                Gray-Hand said | April 10th 2018 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

                You asked where it was reported. You were given the answer. Now you are getting all snippy for some reason. Strange.

                Anderson is a well known bully and a thug who has a record of actually physically assaulting other players (although, seemingly only when their back is turned). On this occasion, he physically threatened an Australian player, and was physically threatened in return. He got back exactly what he dished out.

              • April 10th 2018 @ 1:40pm
                Neil Back said | April 10th 2018 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

                Hang on. My common sense is being ‘moderated’

              • Roar Guru

                April 10th 2018 @ 2:10pm
                JamesH said | April 10th 2018 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

                Why start name-calling, Neil?

                The point is that the Clarke-Anderson incident was isolated and in reaction to something else, not part of any pre-meditated sledging tactic adopted by Clarke. He simply wasn’t a big sledger himself.

                No one likes to see those sorts of incidents but they happen occasionally, and not just to Australia. People lose their cool on a sporting field and say stupid things sometimes. No amount of cultural change will alter that fact. Turning down the stump mics would be a nice idea, though.

              • April 10th 2018 @ 5:38pm
                Neil Back said | April 10th 2018 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

                Name calling? Snippy? Bunnings. Bag of cement.

                Gray-Hand, I’m not debating he got back what he allegedly dished out. It’s also more than a dead certainty that if he did say that, this was just part of the ‘chat’ going on. It’s the laughable notion he was ‘bullying’ a close infield of what, about 9 Australian close fielders at the time?!

                Come

                On

                JamesH. I’d turn the mics up. In fact, I’d mic all the players and let independent adjudicators rule on what’s banter, or personal abuse if teams can’t self-regulate.

              • April 10th 2018 @ 7:34pm
                Gray-Hand said | April 10th 2018 @ 7:34pm | ! Report

                Neil, Your anger has blinded you.

                Literally no one has claimed that Anderson tried to bully the whole fielding team. Everyone else has said that Anderson tried (and failed) to bully Bailey by making a physical threat. Go and reread every post.

              • April 10th 2018 @ 9:52pm
                Neil Back said | April 10th 2018 @ 9:52pm | ! Report

                Nope. What’s happened is, I’ve given you too much credit in your powers of understanding – that it’s nonsense to propose someone in the middle of a bunch of bullies, can be bullying one of them.

              • April 10th 2018 @ 10:10pm
                Gray-Hand said | April 10th 2018 @ 10:10pm | ! Report

                You lost your credibility hours ago.
                You’ve been arguing against a straw man the whole time.
                There is no intellectual honesty in your posts.
                Every time you post you get shot down.
                You complain about sledging, but immediately resort to name calling as soon as your arguments are defeated.
                When called out on your own sledging, you demand that others toughen up and accept the abuse. Complete hypocrisy.
                You are embarrassing yourself.

                Please keep going – it’s genuinely fascinating to observe.

              • Roar Guru

                April 10th 2018 @ 11:00pm
                Paul D said | April 10th 2018 @ 11:00pm | ! Report

                @Neil So basically you’re not even disputing that Jimmy Anderson said he’d like to punch Bailey in the face – I thought Bailey’s response was priceless, I’ve got a steel reinforced helmet on and 40,000 Aussies around me, take your best shot

                Really, your only remaining argument is with Kettlewell’s use of the verb “bullying” – some 12 hours ago now.

                Maybe you’d agree perhaps that Jimmy Anderson was the first to threaten physical violence, whether believable or not – and Clarke responded in kind. I don’t see them as any better than each other, and I do think you have to look at the character of the individuals involved too – Clarke and Anderson would both give Harvey Two-Face a run for his money in their media/private personalities

              • April 11th 2018 @ 7:50am
                Neil Back said | April 11th 2018 @ 7:50am | ! Report

                Paul D. It’s not my ‘remaining argument’, it’s been my only argument!

                Thank you for arriving there. Hopefully, a few others will eventually, although I very much doubt it. It’s been painful.

                To answer your other question, yes, it’s more than likely Anderson offered up the opinion to Bailey, the closest to him, that he’d like to respond to the taunts by giving him a slap. I’d also agree with you that neither Clarke or Anderson came out of the exchange well, and neither can claim the moral high ground.

                I somehow suspect the Bailey comment has grown the way folklore dictates (as Waugh admitted his ‘you’ve just dropped the world cup’ to Gibbs did), but I kind of want it to be exactly what he said!

    • April 9th 2018 @ 8:07am
      Jason Neri said | April 9th 2018 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      The positive press could be great for the rights negotiations, and a buzz distraction from Aussie wounds in the home series against India. MC’s good enough and motivated enough for a passable score with the odd highlight, and his back issues will guarantee he doesn’t cling on too long. He could aid Paine as VC under him, keeping the seat warm for Smith, and his public comments may become an excuse for an early Smith return

    • Roar Guru

      April 9th 2018 @ 8:18am
      The Bush said | April 9th 2018 @ 8:18am | ! Report

      Reports this morning are that this has been blown out of proportion and all he did was text Sutherland and offer his help in any way they needed it.

      Having said that, if the bloke returns to the Shield and knocks a few centuries over, then why shouldn’t he be considered for a the side during this period? Sure he’ll be 37 by then, but there’s been plenty of players knocking around at that age in test sides.

      • Roar Guru

        April 9th 2018 @ 9:15am
        Chris Kettlewell said | April 9th 2018 @ 9:15am | ! Report

        I’ve also seen the updates from Clarke saying it’s been way blown out of proportion and he was never really meaning actually returning to playing test cricket.

        That being said, returning to the Shield and knocking a few centuries over to earn a return would kind of defeat the purpose, which would be a short-term stop gap to help the team through a tough period. By the time he’d done all that they would already be most of the way through the Smith / Warner suspension period anyway. If a Clarke playing return was going to happen it would be getting involved from the next lot of international cricket, not late in the Australian season. But it’s not going to happen. If he does get involved, it won’t be playing.

        • Roar Guru

          April 9th 2018 @ 9:34am
          The Bush said | April 9th 2018 @ 9:34am | ! Report

          But we don’t have any serious test cricket until India arrive for this summer. So if Clarke returns and hits some early runs in the Shield, I’d be all for him playing out the summer and having, wait for it, an Indian Summer!

          That series is the only real concern. Surely people don’t think we’re going to lose to Bangladesh in Australia over the winter? Even I can’t see that happening. As for the ODI side, I don’t see there being any real issue – Smith was out of form in the format anyway and our results have been so bad, that a change up is probably a good thing.

          • Roar Guru

            April 9th 2018 @ 12:10pm
            Chris Kettlewell said | April 9th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

            Yeah, might end up with an ODI team not dissimilar to the T20 team that played in the recent tri-series.

        • April 9th 2018 @ 12:31pm
          Jacko said | April 9th 2018 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

          I’ve also seen the updates from Clarke saying it’s been way blown out of proportion and he was never really meaning actually returning to playing test cricket.

          And he offered it all for free…No contract…..no pay….just trying to help out if they thought it would help but nothing like a media organization to get things all hyped up

    • April 9th 2018 @ 8:24am
      Pope Paul VII said | April 9th 2018 @ 8:24am | ! Report

      Is this a threat Clarkey? If ever they players need incentive this is it. What a player though? Played some beauties.

    • Roar Guru

      April 9th 2018 @ 8:58am
      Ryan H said | April 9th 2018 @ 8:58am | ! Report

      Admire his concern of the situation but the fact he’s hardly picked up a bat in 18 months surely tells you all you need to know. Removing Paine as captain is the last thing they should be doing now anyway

      No doubt completely overblown, I doubt Clarke ever meant it with intentions of playing again.

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