Australia news September 26, 2013

Michael Clarke eager for batting help


Australia's captain and best batsman Michael Clarke has endorsed the team performance manager Pat Howard's instigation of a forum to address the nation's batting ills in Sydney next month, though he admitted to being totally unaware of plans for the event.

Highly unlikely to make the ODI tour of India that precedes the home Ashes series due to his chronic back troubles, Clarke may be in Sydney at the time of the forum, which Howard has said will be a key event for the new Centre of Excellence high performance batting coach Graeme Hick.

Initially reacting with surprise about the idea and saying he knew "nothing about it", Clarke responded positively once informed of the search for answers to the deterioration of Australian batting in recent years, something exposed mercilessly on the tours of India and England this year.

"I have a lot of thoughts about batting but I'm right in the midst of it as well," Clarke said. "I need to make sure I'm scoring more runs. I look forward to hearing what the other experts have to say and hopefully have some advice that can help us.

"We've got quite a good mix of youth and experience with our batting group and I think we continue to learn daily, but we're certainly open to anybody who can provide us with some feedback that's going to help us get better. What you try to do every day is to become a better player, so if Pat's organised a forum for some past players who've had a lot of success to come and help us that'll be great for the group."

As for his fragile back, Clarke said he had been juggling Cricket Australia sponsorship commitments with multiple daily treatment sessions to give him the best chance of making the plane to India. Though Clarke remains adamant that he can be fit in time, CA medical staff will be hesitant to send him to the subcontinent if it is likely to set back his Ashes preparations.

"It's getting there slowly, but how slowly, I won't know," Clarke said. "I'll probably have until the end of this week or early next week to see how I pull up, having treatment two or three times a day at the moment to give myself the best chance of being right for the tour.

"We're not planning on having scans right now, we're going to push me as far as I can go and see how I pull up, and if I pull up fine then great I'm on the plane. If I don't then I might have to have scans. But that's dictated by the experts who know a lot more about the problem I have than myself."

Clarke was speaking at the New South Wales season launch, where his Test vice-captain Brad Haddin was named as the Blues' captain for 2013-14. The new chief executive Andrew Jones and the new coach Trevor Bayliss were also acknowledged at the start of the domestic season.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rajaram on September 28, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    i sincerely hope Pup does not go on this meaningless tour of India. Neither should Brad Haddin,George Bailey (the new Test number 6),Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson.We've got to prepare well for The Ashes.

  • Lewis on September 27, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    We have to pick batsman on early shield runs. My gut feel is that with the batsman the likes of Warner, Khawaja and Maddinson will make the full squad with early shield runs. As much as Khawaja got a raw deal with only 3 games its good for him to go back and score early shield runs as his ability to play pace well will be crucial on pitches which will be the opposite of what Swann wants. Also watch out for Warner making a strong showing early in the shield season, boof is making the likes of Warner, Khawaja hungry for their positions and thats good, no favoritism. I am not in favour of Bailey playing at 6 until he gets shield runs as he averaged below 20 last year in shield. If we don't take shield performances into account then why have a state competition. Sure ODI's can be taken into consideration but keep in mind that the conditions our boys will face in India will not prepare them for what's coming against the POMs on our pitches, only shie

  • Dummy4 on September 27, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    well when u send bits and pieces cricketers to the arena, this is what you can expect. the selectors need to apply their mind and think about sending proper batsmen like burns, cosgrove, fergusson,madinson and expect them to be patient ,then it sounds realistic. the idea of opening is 2 fold, even you do not make quick runs you grind in the middle to make life difficult for the bowlers. this makes the ball old, the bowlers tire and the n03, n04 batsmen come in when the ball is 30 -40 overs old. not some one who whacks 30 of 20 balls and when the ball is 20 overs old u have your middle order playing.

  • Nathan on September 26, 2013, 22:52 GMT

    @ hillbumper

    I'm not sure that it's a fair statement to imply that the Aussie batsmen go out there with the intent to play flash, bash, bold attacking cricket.

    Warner might play like this but Rogers has a test temperament, so does Clarke. Watson and Smith improved their approach greatly over the last ashes series.

    I think the Aussies lost the key moments of the ashes because they buckled under pressure not because they were attacking. I don't think we need boring, dour batters. What we need are a couple of crease occupiers who fight to the death like AB, Steve Waugh, Mike Hussey and I don't consider any of these three boring or dour.

  • kieran on September 26, 2013, 21:47 GMT

    The test captain and best test bat in the country doesn't know about a CA initiated batting forum? Nothing suprises me anymore. But hey, as long a Pup is out there filming Ashes promos everything is fine. @Paul Somerset, I would think the forum (and the appointment of Hick) is predominantly concerned with the mental application involved in test batting, rather than individual technical issues. Cook & Bell are good examples; two batsmen "limited" by their technical/mental boundaries that have shown mental discipline is key to success. I'm not sure what limitations Lehmann was referring to re: Bell, I guess his cover drive isn't that great.

  • James on September 26, 2013, 15:30 GMT

    @Paul_Somerset, I think you hit the nail right on the head there. The thing is, in Australia there is a very low regard for coaching. This stems, i think, from the fact that the best Australian players were just good naturally, they might have done those things instinctively and they expect these guys to do the same. They are just not the same, and need proper coaching.

  • Dummy4 on September 26, 2013, 14:30 GMT

    Surgery is not a fix-it solution, it can worsen problems, pain can be reduced but often at the expense of mobility and flexibility. His future standard of life is far more important than our enjoyment of his batting skills..................

  • Paul on September 26, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    Not sure a general forum is necessarily going to be productive. I remember Ricky Ponting damning Alastair Cook with faint praise in 2009 by pointing out he plays within his limitations, and I believe Darren Lehmann said the same about Ian Bell this summer.

    And this is the key. Every batsman is an individual with his own strengths and weaknesses. The role of the coaches should be to identify these limitations for each individual, advise how best to work within them and finally calculate how they can each best serve the team.

    Lumping everyone together and telling them all that one way is wrong and another is right could be counter-productive. You need to identify the individual talents first and arrange them into a team second. Not assert that you want a team to play a certain way and then endlessly rotate the batting order and drop and recall players when they don't/can't fit your preconceptions.

  • Prasanna on September 26, 2013, 13:57 GMT

    @hhillbumper , I think you are spot-on. Exactly the same opinion that I had posted on another related article - Aussie way is to play it as attacking as we can and take it away quickly from the oppo. It worked when we had Legends like the Punter, Gilly, Haydos etc. Now that the breed of batsmen is gone, finding it hard to adjust to the changing circumstances.

  • saint on September 26, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    Why doesn't Clarke just do a surgery? It might prolong his career considerably. He lives in Australia which has top class orthopedic/spinal surgeons.

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