Australia news April 30, 2014

Clarke won't temper Australia's aggression

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Australia play the game fairly - Clarke

Australia's captain Michael Clarke insists his side plays the game "extremely fairly" and has no intention of reining in the overt aggression that was central to the team's victories over England and South Africa last summer.

In a theme familiar to members of the great Australian combinations of the recent past, triumphs in the Ashes and then even more notably over the world's No. 1 team on their home territory had to compete for room in the public sphere with criticism of how Clarke's men conducted themselves on the field.

The final Test of the South Africa series in Cape Town was particularly fiery, as Clarke, James Pattinson and David Warner were all involved in confrontations with opponents in their pursuit of a win that was ultimately secured with minutes to spare. The ESPNcricinfo columnist Martin Crowe has been among the most vocal in his opposition to Australia's aggression, penning a sharply-worded piece for the Wisden Almanack that stated "too often, it becomes crudely personal. And that is when cricket's spirit and integrity are lost".

Clarke took note of Crowe's words but disagreed, stating that the team had played the game hard but fair over the past 12 months with the exception of two incidents for which he had admitted fault - an exchange with James Anderson broadcast via stump mic during the Brisbane Ashes Test and another with Dale Steyn during the final drinks break at Newlands.

"Firstly Martin Crowe's certainly entitled to his opinion, like the rest of us. I think we play our cricket hard on the field but I think as Australians we understand and respect there's a line you can't cross," Clarke told ESPNcricinfo in New York. "I made no bones about the incident in Brisbane and what I said to James Anderson wasn't appropriate, especially being over stump mic where boys and girls can hear that, and I did the same with the Dale Steyn incident.

"Sometimes when you're playing sport at the highest level, emotions come out for people to see, and I think that's a great thing about our game. But we understand there's a line you can't cross. You can go close to it, but you can't cross it. I think generally Australians play cricket extremely fairly, and play sport extremely fairly. I can tell you in my career 100 different instances like those that nobody knows about, because it's not over the stump mic, or you can't see it first-hand."

Other voices were raised in objection to the conduct of Clarke's team following the South Africa series, emanating from the Australian press. In the Courier-Mail, the senior cricket writer Robert Craddock wrote that "the sight of Michael Clarke angrily confronting umpires and Australian fieldsmen barking like dogs at batsmen left a lot of people cold and alienated from the team and its success.

"If a captain is carrying on like a saucepan whose lid has just popped off it is hardly surprising his team is running out of control. It's a shame Australia behaved so poorly because this was an epic triumph."

In the Sydney Morning Herald, David Sygall wrestled with similar disappointment. "The Australian psyche is characterised by uncompromising toughness, determination and dignity," he wrote. "Those traits must no longer be confused with boorish and bullying behaviour. After another significant win by our national cricket team, too many people are only half-celebrating. Too many people feel the team has not spoken for them."

Nevertheless, Clarke remained steadfast in his conviction that the team have conducted themselves fairly, and that CA and the ICC were invariably quick to step in with a harsh word and a sanction on the odd occasions that they did not.

"The Australian way is to play tough, non-compromising cricket on the field. I think if you speak to a lot of the other [international] players you'll find that we're very social off the field, we go out of our way to make sure we see the other team, win, lose or draw, after a game," Clarke said. "But with that we understand there's a line you can't cross and I think generally we're pretty good on that."

"The integrity of the game's crucial, we all know that as players, and certainly as captain of Australia that's a big part of my job to make sure that we always uphold the integrity of the game. With those sorts of things, when you're out of line you get pulled up by CA or the ICC anyway, so there's things in place to ensure you don't overstep that mark."

A little under two months since the conclusion of a wildly successful summer, Clarke has had time to reflect upon the team's achievements, and said he hoped they would prove to be the start of sustained excellence from the national team. Such a pattern would contrast with that of the 2006-07 side who also swept England at home, in what came to be recognised as the final hurrah of a dominant era spanning more than 20 years.

"In 2007 we had a team with a lot of experience. Five, six or seven of those players will go down as the greatest. If you picked an all-time great Australian team there could have been five of them in that team," Clarke said. "I don't think we have that calibre in our team right now individually, but we certainly have a great team and I think we've proved that to a lot of people over the last 12 months.

"The other side to that is we have a lot of improvement to do. Our greatest challenge is to not only win in Australia but also win away from home, and that's why it was so pleasing to us as a team to beat the No. 1 team in their own backyard."

Australia's next Test match assignment will be against Pakistan in the UAE in October, before home Tests against India ahead of the 2015 World Cup.

The full ESPNcricinfo interview with Michael Clarke will be aired next week.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • syd0660 on May 2, 2014, 0:04 GMT

    @venkat_Gowrishankar. I must disagree...the West Indies team did sledge. Malcolm Marshall said to David Boon in his first test - why don't you just get out, before I kill you....and nothing wrong with that, btw ! There was nothing that Clarke needed to say on this topic as even WG Grace was known to sledge - read some of cricket's history.

  • Venkat_Gowrishankar on May 1, 2014, 17:24 GMT

    The current australian team is nowhere even near the great dominating west indies team of the 70''s and 80's. They never swore nor sledged. Pure genrlemen of the game who played it hard and aggressive. M Clarke need not defend himself if he never felt guiilty. The West indies team never crossed any line, crossing?, they never drew the line in the fist place.

  • First_Drop on May 1, 2014, 11:58 GMT

    To all those Englad fans who think the Aussies have 'crossed the line' - pls tell me how you feel about Englands drain on the cricketing resources of other countries suh as Ireland and Zimbabweand the West Indies (not to mention South Africa). Draining talent away from weaker cricketing coutries - does this cross the line as well?? Isn't that far more serious than any on-field issues??

  • shane-oh on May 1, 2014, 7:15 GMT

    @syd0660 - I would never suggest that only Australians stray outside the spirit of the game. But I would strongly suggest they seem to be the only team which systematically do this, and then claim it is a part of their culture to do so. If that's true, then Australia has some massive problems to resolve.

  • syd0660 on May 1, 2014, 5:51 GMT

    Interesting discussion.....the Australian way of playing sport has never changed whether we win or lose. What is disappointing is that other countries feel that Australia is the only cricket team that doesn't play in the Spirit of the Game. That is nonsense. Every team talks on the field. Sport, not just cricket, at any level, is to be played hard, yet fair. We have all been brought up that what happens on the field stays there - and it should never be personal, racist, etc. Those guys get suspended as they should. But to let the opposition know they shouldn't be there - what's the issue ? At least Australians will be the first team to have a drink with the opposition at the end of play, which is what it is all about - play hard, then socialise. Sport is not a garden tea party !

  • InternationalCricketFollower on May 1, 2014, 3:57 GMT

    You "play extremely (emphasis added) fair"!? No wonder the Aussie cricketers are a bunch of tools. Hope they don't stay on #no1 ranking for too long.

  • SugarFoot on May 1, 2014, 2:46 GMT

    Awww, no more tears people. Harden up. Test cricket is a tough game. It would be a little boring if there was ONLY cricket to talk about. We as fans hear very little what is actually said on the pitch and off field so we can't be making any real validated judgements. Lets just enjoy the rivalry without getting personal :)

  • OneEyedAussie on May 1, 2014, 2:44 GMT

    This is just my anecdotal experience: when Australia is winning there are plenty of these kind of articles but when we are losing they never appear - even though there are just as many confrontations. Maybe it's easier to stomach losing if you think you're a victim.

  • pa99 on May 1, 2014, 2:07 GMT

    I compare Clarke with Cameron Smith, George Gregan, John Newcombe, Tim Cahill, Mark Webber, Kieran Perkins, and overseas Rafa and Roger, Cristiano Ronaldo, Sachin and Mahela and Kumar - the list is endless.

    What I see is a little boy in a line-up of men

    a little boy who maybe is trying to compensate for his lack of stature!

    the great past captains of Australia must be ashamed - very sad.

  • on May 1, 2014, 1:31 GMT

    electro_loco_WAP4...Sorry to burst your bubble but yeah they are 1 of the big 3 but the bottom of the big 3 when it comes to having your say. The one that makes all the money is India so what they say is way more prominent...2nd is England because they make more money & then Australia at the bottom of the big 3 ladder.

  • syd0660 on May 2, 2014, 0:04 GMT

    @venkat_Gowrishankar. I must disagree...the West Indies team did sledge. Malcolm Marshall said to David Boon in his first test - why don't you just get out, before I kill you....and nothing wrong with that, btw ! There was nothing that Clarke needed to say on this topic as even WG Grace was known to sledge - read some of cricket's history.

  • Venkat_Gowrishankar on May 1, 2014, 17:24 GMT

    The current australian team is nowhere even near the great dominating west indies team of the 70''s and 80's. They never swore nor sledged. Pure genrlemen of the game who played it hard and aggressive. M Clarke need not defend himself if he never felt guiilty. The West indies team never crossed any line, crossing?, they never drew the line in the fist place.

  • First_Drop on May 1, 2014, 11:58 GMT

    To all those Englad fans who think the Aussies have 'crossed the line' - pls tell me how you feel about Englands drain on the cricketing resources of other countries suh as Ireland and Zimbabweand the West Indies (not to mention South Africa). Draining talent away from weaker cricketing coutries - does this cross the line as well?? Isn't that far more serious than any on-field issues??

  • shane-oh on May 1, 2014, 7:15 GMT

    @syd0660 - I would never suggest that only Australians stray outside the spirit of the game. But I would strongly suggest they seem to be the only team which systematically do this, and then claim it is a part of their culture to do so. If that's true, then Australia has some massive problems to resolve.

  • syd0660 on May 1, 2014, 5:51 GMT

    Interesting discussion.....the Australian way of playing sport has never changed whether we win or lose. What is disappointing is that other countries feel that Australia is the only cricket team that doesn't play in the Spirit of the Game. That is nonsense. Every team talks on the field. Sport, not just cricket, at any level, is to be played hard, yet fair. We have all been brought up that what happens on the field stays there - and it should never be personal, racist, etc. Those guys get suspended as they should. But to let the opposition know they shouldn't be there - what's the issue ? At least Australians will be the first team to have a drink with the opposition at the end of play, which is what it is all about - play hard, then socialise. Sport is not a garden tea party !

  • InternationalCricketFollower on May 1, 2014, 3:57 GMT

    You "play extremely (emphasis added) fair"!? No wonder the Aussie cricketers are a bunch of tools. Hope they don't stay on #no1 ranking for too long.

  • SugarFoot on May 1, 2014, 2:46 GMT

    Awww, no more tears people. Harden up. Test cricket is a tough game. It would be a little boring if there was ONLY cricket to talk about. We as fans hear very little what is actually said on the pitch and off field so we can't be making any real validated judgements. Lets just enjoy the rivalry without getting personal :)

  • OneEyedAussie on May 1, 2014, 2:44 GMT

    This is just my anecdotal experience: when Australia is winning there are plenty of these kind of articles but when we are losing they never appear - even though there are just as many confrontations. Maybe it's easier to stomach losing if you think you're a victim.

  • pa99 on May 1, 2014, 2:07 GMT

    I compare Clarke with Cameron Smith, George Gregan, John Newcombe, Tim Cahill, Mark Webber, Kieran Perkins, and overseas Rafa and Roger, Cristiano Ronaldo, Sachin and Mahela and Kumar - the list is endless.

    What I see is a little boy in a line-up of men

    a little boy who maybe is trying to compensate for his lack of stature!

    the great past captains of Australia must be ashamed - very sad.

  • on May 1, 2014, 1:31 GMT

    electro_loco_WAP4...Sorry to burst your bubble but yeah they are 1 of the big 3 but the bottom of the big 3 when it comes to having your say. The one that makes all the money is India so what they say is way more prominent...2nd is England because they make more money & then Australia at the bottom of the big 3 ladder.

  • disco_bob on May 1, 2014, 0:38 GMT

    If a passionate style of play means the occasional swear word - that that any ten year old would hear on the playground on a daily basis - picked up on an incorrectly turned on stump mic, then, so be it.

  • wellrounded87 on May 1, 2014, 0:35 GMT

    @Senthil23october

    Actually it's more to do with Darren Lehman than Clarke. Clarke has had the reigns for quite some time and gotten nowhere with it. His on field tactical skills are superb but his leadership is average at best. The players didn't like him and didn't respect him because of his attitude. Insert Boof Lehman and rather quickly you have a unified team that play for each other and players with potential are starting to live up to it. That's not a coincidence.

    As for this article and the comments. I love how everyone loves to point at the Aussies for crossing the line, but yet everyone is silent on the other teams that do the same thing and worse.

    Sarwan sledged McGraths wife. Singh racially vilified Symonds, Kohli and Sharma flipping off fans, Anderson threatening to punch George Bailey in the head, Joe Root mocking Hashim Amla, The WI over the top reaction and abuse towards Australia because of one players comments... crickets chirping. 3 words Tall poppy syndrome

  • on May 1, 2014, 0:31 GMT

    So Warne, and which other 4 from 2006/7 might be an all time Australian side ? OK OK I know the youngsters would pick Gilchrist over Tallon, but anyone else isn't even on the Horizon ?

  • dunger.bob on May 1, 2014, 0:11 GMT

    I'm a bit surprised by some of these posts. I expected opinion to be highly polarised along national lines. That is, I expected the Aussies to defend themselves without question and non-Aussies to revile them as a matter of course. It's not actually the case. Opinion is mixed from both sides of the great divide, and that's a very good thing imo. Things are rarely cut and dried, black and white and the world is full of grey areas from what I can see.

    Personally, I don't like to see too much of the verbal stuff but I also don't think we (Aus) are under any obligation to sit back and just take all the crap the opposition likes to put on us. Despite what everyone thinks, very little of the stuff that goes on out there is unprovoked. Some teams actually try it on because of our reputation as the wild, uncouth bunch. They do it because they think they can come up smelling like roses and the Aussies will always be seen as the wrong doers.

  • Greatest_Game on April 30, 2014, 23:20 GMT

    Clarke states that " think we play our cricket hard on the field but I think as Australians we understand and respect there's a line you can't cross."

    Unfortunately, Australians do not seem to understand that he line that the rest of the world considers to be fair and sporting, lies at the Australian team's dressing rom door. Their players cross it long before they reach the field!. "Playing hard on the field" is an Aussie euphemism for "doing anything and everything we can get away with, to win.

    The Spirit of Cricket does not, and never has, encompassed "mental disintegration! The Captain doth protest too much methinks?

  • on April 30, 2014, 22:20 GMT

    i think australian cricket will be more exciting than ever with this newly found talent and agression and their mindset to win games the way they responded to englands ashes win in the winter was amazing

  • Kingman75 on April 30, 2014, 21:48 GMT

    The Australians are officially number one again. And it was pure aggression in the form of Johnson that got them there

  • on April 30, 2014, 21:45 GMT

    i want to see australia play sri lanka in tests.

  • Fred15 on April 30, 2014, 21:41 GMT

    Sorry Australia, apart from one or two captains (Mark Taylor) and obviously Clarke isn't one of them, they are always way to aggressive. It is a shame, they have talent but don't let it win games for them, rather their aggro approach means even when they win well you can't be sure if it was the aggression that won it for them or the their talent.

    Instead of being pleased with a performance such as the Ashes win in Australia you can't help but think their and their media 'pyscho' attacks on England before Brisbane made the difference. I personally think if they had taken a low key approach they would have won anyway. We will never know though!. But we do know Trott is out of the game and Aussie can't come and say the feel sorry about that when perhaps they were the major contributors!

    Disappointing, I just follow them less avidly than I normally would. There is plenty of other good cricket around

  • on April 30, 2014, 20:16 GMT

    @sennthil23october:....Steve Waugh n pointing were legends in their era....for their captaincy.......they played game in a true spirit......less controversial though.....n as u said......Clarke pulled from worst to best...it has nothing to do...with their skills....other teams are playing better cricket.....although Australia are looking better as a team now.....if they want maintain this atittude its only matter of time......they're crushed again....thanks to Steve n pointing.....Australians are still considered formidable foe....even if there figures...shows otherway....

  • Rally_Windies on April 30, 2014, 19:08 GMT

    who was Clarke talking about? is he talking about the West Indians ?

    the WI is the only team of nice blokes who try to kill you on the field ...

    Croft, Ambrose, Bishop ..

    on the Batting, Viv, Lara ...

    these are guys you'd love to meet at the bar.....

    but have you shivering on the pitch ...

    Clarke must have been talking about the West Indians ...

  • on April 30, 2014, 18:40 GMT

    Problem is that Australian's draw a line of their own and expect everyone to stay within that imaginary unspecified line. They are the first one to go crying to match referee when the opposition plays hard ball. Having said that, I think Clarke is much better than Ponting and Waugh. Waugh openly talked about mental disintegration. To me if you are going to go that route be prepared to take some crap from opposition too. Australia is the one team I love to see lose!!

  • sidgupta on April 30, 2014, 18:11 GMT

    I don't know what Clarke is talking about. The Aussies won't be crossing the line so many times if they were trying to stay behind it. Too much is made about the Australian way. I am not sure if all Australians would be happy to be bundled in the same boat as Clarke's team.

  • Nortox on April 30, 2014, 17:17 GMT

    Most successful Australian teams were associated with sledging and leaving what they call as spirit of the game.. Clarke 11 is no different, It appears to me as an independent cricket watcher that when they loose this mean streak they go soft and loose more than they win. Example is Ashes where Brett Lee was friendly to Freddy and remaining Aussi were not chirping/sledging much.. they loose .

    So this bully attitude favor them and its up to the rest of the world to adapt and win coz the team certainly is not world beater, some individuals may be but definitely not the team.

  • Senthil23october on April 30, 2014, 16:26 GMT

    Never Compare Clarke with Ponting or Steve Waugh. .Both had a well set team so as a captain their part is just to enjoy wins under their name. .Instead Clarke pulled this current team from worst to best. .You have appreciate the way he handled pressures from media when their side lost Ashes in England and Test series in India, from there they rose to top from nowhere. .You have applaud this guy than criticizing. .

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on April 30, 2014, 16:23 GMT

    @Hello13 -'time ICC dealt with them' You are in for big disappointment mate.Aussies are 1 of 'big 3',a prominent 1 @ that! Just as has been case with Ind for a long while now.Of course,also being the 'paragons of virtue' that they-Ind-are! -:)

  • on April 30, 2014, 15:02 GMT

    Cool smart n great captain of current era is clarke.

  • SamaTri on April 30, 2014, 14:36 GMT

    Clark's line is far ahead of other's limits. Seems it has crossed the lines set by past Aussie teams too.Playing the game hard? Celebrate hard? Of course you should do that, but don't give the batsman a stare or 2 words every ball. Attitude and all is fine, as long as you don't make a WWE match out of it without physical contacts.

  • EdwinD on April 30, 2014, 14:35 GMT

    The issue as I see it, is that what the Australians call crossing the line, and what other teams call it, differs significantly.

  • wrenx on April 30, 2014, 14:04 GMT

    Gosh, yet another Australian telling us where the line is, and how the Australian team aren't on the wrong side of it. Never heard that before, and certainly not consistently for the last 30 years

  • wrenx on April 30, 2014, 13:59 GMT

    Here's a hint Clarkey - if you're always having to shout from the rooftops about how 'fairly' you play the game, you're probably not playing fairly at all. Actions. Better than words.

  • KrikIndFan on April 30, 2014, 13:59 GMT

    Although the Aussies likes to get carried away more often than others on the field, that has always been their style. But with the recent IPL kinds of cricket there's also developed more mutual respect towards each other, something that was missing the olden days. A sledging or two at the batsman/bowler should not be taken that seriously, but it definitely looks silly arguing with an umpire, like it or not, he's not going to change his decision.

  • Pathiyal on April 30, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    you can be aggressive on the field without being abusive. we have endless list of successful cricketers who were remembered for their aggression on the field without even being abusive for a second. about aussies, they get crumbled when the opposition give them back. they are not able to contain it. so stop it lads.

  • Hello13 on April 30, 2014, 13:23 GMT

    It's not for Clarke to decie whether they cross the line. Everybody around the world knows they do. It's high time the ICC dealt with them.

  • flickspin on April 30, 2014, 13:19 GMT

    ive never seen michael clarke show umpires disrespect, when broad hit the cover off the ball (i believe broad did what 90% of cricketers would do and not walk) in the ashes, he was angry for 3 balls and got on with the game.

    ive noticed every time he gets a bad decision he gets on with the game

    most overs when the cameras focus on the slip cordon him and the slips are always relaxed and smiling.

    most cricket fans enjoy his captaincy.

    i also agree to play cricket tough, but after the game you shake hands and thank the opposition for the game.

    i liked how he said win/lose or draw go and visit the opposition after the game.

  • on April 30, 2014, 12:05 GMT

    To be honest I think there needs to be more teams playing with a bit of attitude and a harder streak. Look at the West Indies under Clive Lloyd, Pakistan under Imran, Sri Lanka under Arjuna, tough, uncompromising men and they all got plenty out of their respective teams. Why play competitive cricket if not to go out and play your hardest?

  • xtrafalgarx on April 30, 2014, 11:45 GMT

    @ imtiazjaleel: There were plenty of Incidents. Matthew Wade vs. Virat Kohli, Warner vs Jadeja and Kolhi and Watson vs Dhoni. The fight is always there mate, it was just the team spirit and skill in turning conditions missing.

  • oval77 on April 30, 2014, 11:13 GMT

    Clarke has a very modern attitude that comes from seeing himself as a celebrity foremost and a cricketer second, and he's instilling that attitude into the australian team.

  • on April 30, 2014, 11:09 GMT

    SA fan here. Much ado about nothing, if you ask me. If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. I watched just about every ball of our Test series against Aus, and while I was disappointed we lost, I generally thought it was played in a really good spirit, with a lot of mutual respect between the teams. Sure, it was tough and uncompromising, but then this is the way Aus-SA series SHOULD be played. Both Johnson and Steyn are aggressive characters - asking them to tone it down would take something away from the contest. Can't wait for our next series against Aus - they always make for great Test matches!

  • Not_Another_Keybored_Expert on April 30, 2014, 10:26 GMT

    Talk about a storm in a tea cup, get over it, No one has been physically attacked or hurt so what is the big deal? No wonder no one is watching the cricket anymore, its still played overseas (outside of Aus) by the upperclass and they don't like that style of play, if it wasn't for Aus and there style of play Test match cricket would have died 20 years ago. (by the way I don't hear anyone complaining about Andersons comments to bailey that started the whole incident)

  • Moppa on April 30, 2014, 10:25 GMT

    A question for Indian/Sri Lankan fans on the topic of verbal confrontation and an aggressive attitude. Why are two of the most successful captains from those two countries, Ganguly and Ranatunga, also the most confrontational that those nations have chosen? Does that reflect on cricketing culture in those countries - or were those two individuals exceptional?

  • on April 30, 2014, 10:24 GMT

    There are living legends who have played the game at the highest level and have never sledged or spoke hard to the opposition. To Name a few, Kapil dev, Gavaskar, Viv Richards, Brian lara, Sachin, Rahul dravid, Anil kumle, Muralidharan, laxman,kallis, the list can go on....... are these NOT aggressive in their game... and did their teams NOT win matches.. or were they ever short of providing entertainment...!! Aussies need to learn.. You should aim at being the best by beating the best in the Game.. and NOT by being a loudmouth...

  • Metro-ant on April 30, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    The West Indies did it the best. Everyone knew when they sledged that it was never malicious and was most of the time comic for both parties. It was never seen as being politically correct but out of respect for your opposition and their love for the game. Would you ever imagine any of the greats of the Calypso era saying something as pathetic as 'there's a line you can't cross. You can go close to it, but you can't cross it'? Australians don't like their sportsmen arrogant, best example Anthony Mundine but I don't get why we take a softer side with these blokes.

  • on April 30, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    so what? must they b nice? I dont see anything wrong with it. People are angry cos OZ is on the rise again. The easiest way to silence them is to beat them. Dont moan about how vocal they are if ur losing to them. #PROTEAFAN

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on April 30, 2014, 9:25 GMT

    @stormy16 -I do remember 'no.1' SA crossing the 'line' on a no. of occations ,maybe even more than every 1 is eager to 'cr.' Aussies for such. Think Steyn-no.1 - Faf and few others.Fact is all teams,on occasions do overstep the so called invisible 'line' at various times,not just Aussies. Again it is wrong to generalise and name a whole team for it. It is more down to individuals- and w/o taking names all teams have 1 or 2 guys who are so called 'bad boys' . Again human nature ,character is unique and v diff. and is same irrespective of country/team. There are people of all kinds by their nature every where is the moral ,in short . Hope it publishes.

  • siddhartha87 on April 30, 2014, 9:14 GMT

    @malik murad: Playing for your country in tests is not same as IPL. IPL is nothing but a domestic league where international players for some easy money and enjoyment. The intensity level of an IPL match is not even 0.001% of a test match. Do you really think that Clarke will bat with a broken finger against Steyn and Morkel in Newlands if it is an IPL match? I don't think so

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx on April 30, 2014, 9:07 GMT

    @Harlequin - perhaps it is time to forget about "class" hangups and just accept that cricket is played by many different countries in their own many different, fascinating and unique ways.

  • shane-oh on April 30, 2014, 9:02 GMT

    Let's be honest; the Australian team has been dragging down the conduct of cricket teams in general for 20 years. They had a brief period of playing in the spirit of the game - and were roundly criticised by their public for doing so. Playing in the spirit of the game, good sportsmanship - these things are simply considered to be un-Australian. I admire this team for what they have achieved of late with limited resources - as Clarke states, they've had to transition from a team of all-timers to one with much less raw talent. They've had to work hard to get the results they've had, unlike the previous teams who could almost do it at a canter. But their attitude is disgusting. Just look at Faulkner - a mediocre bowler dishing out verbals like he really believes he is the next big thing (he isn't).

  • Malik_Murad on April 30, 2014, 8:55 GMT

    I have a question: If Aussies play hard cricket on the field then why don't they show the same aggression while playing IPL? Does this mean that the aggression Australians show is more of a "Team Tactic" led by their captain and team management than the individual basic instinct. So, why are we blaming Australians as a whole when this is the case of a particular team tactic issue....

  • VivGilchrist on April 30, 2014, 8:37 GMT

    Australia play in front of packed crowds because they play aggressive, attacking cricket. They play a brand that is worth watching because it's entertaining. If it wasn't for the Aussies, Test cricket would be close to dead. Imagine if every team played in the style of India v SL series. No wonder why they have empty stands.

  • on April 30, 2014, 8:33 GMT

    as soon as they started winning it was only a matter of time till these sorts of stories appeared. never fear, once they start losing again it will all be "played in good spirit" etc.

  • Sal76 on April 30, 2014, 8:31 GMT

    I find the comments here very interesting, needless to say, most comments from Aussie fans, who despite disagreeing with their captain and players' conduct seem to be discreetly or perhaps subconsciously backing it. No such thing as white line fever. White line fever may be accepted at street level cricket, or maybe in some cases club cricket. In fact, I play club cricket and we have very strong guidelines in terms of on and off field conduct when representing the club. That is what defines professionals. And a professional representing his or her country should never even get "close to that line". Sorry Mr. Clarke, I don't buy your pathetic excuses. No win is bigger than the spirit of the sport and if you cannot uphold it and rein your men in, you are a blot on the whites that you wear to represent your country.

  • Harlequin. on April 30, 2014, 8:31 GMT

    A few comments saying that cricket would be a boring game without a few verbals. Maybe, but there are a few points to make about that.

    Firstly, look at the West Indians. Probably the most entertaining team to watch at the moment, and they entertain by enjoying themselves rather than belittling the opposition.

    Secondly, cricket wouldn't be a boring game without verbals, but it would be a less entertaining game without aggression. Personally I think of the Aussies, Mitch has got the right attitude; you can see the aggression when he bowls and even when he bats, you can see he is up for the fight, which is great to see. Warner and Faulkner on the other hand....

    Thirdly, if you are watching cricket for the verbals, then may I suggest following something else?!

    The disappointing thing in all of this, as Steve48 has said, is that Clarke is good enough as a captain that he doesn't need to behave like a school ground bully. It's not against the rules, but show some class Michael!

  • steve48 on April 30, 2014, 8:05 GMT

    The problem I have, with Clarke in particular as captain, is the body language involved. I sometimes feel he is playing up visually to prove he is a proper in your face Aussie, casting aside his former image that people such as Ponting and Katich have accused him of. Shame, because he is by far the best on field captain in test cricket, along with Lehman hatching great plans, handling mood players such as MJ and DW really well, and developing an on field intensity rarely seen in the long form of the game. Also a truly great batsman who but for his bad back would be rated alongside anyone. Perhaps it is the restrictions his back causes that make him so angry?!

  • stormy16 on April 30, 2014, 7:56 GMT

    Two series wins and two apologies for bad behavior but hey 'no on is crossing the line'! Speaking of corssing the line, who and where is this line defined? Does Aus determine this line as that line gets blurred depending on if Aus are winning or not - refer two previos series before Aus wins where none of this was even discussed. Unfortunately Aus throw around this sentiments that being aggressive and nasty on he field is part of the game and everyone accepts that due its corelation to Aus wins but its wrong, uncalled for and what is called the ugly Aussie. You dont have to carry on like a spoilt child to win cricket - just look at SA, the number one team for a long time and they just play as hard and better cricket without the fuss. I dont get why the ugly Aussie is supposeldy required and part of the game when only the Aussies conduct themselves in this manner. Previous and curren top teams have achived the results without the ugliness!

  • lancia71 on April 30, 2014, 7:07 GMT

    Cricket would be quite a boring game without few verbals. Games between india and sri lanka have become very uninteresting as of late. Seems the 2 teams are too pally with each other. I loved when Kumar sangakkara and Arnold started dishing out to the opposition. Both came out with some good stuff. But with retirement very near, Kumar has been quite a good boy. May be he is eyeing a stint with ICC. Arjuna I think crossed the line as sometimes was very abusive and it wasn't good to watch. All in all, whatever said and done, without Aussies cricket would be a boring game for sure. A sri Lankan fan here.

  • Smithie on April 30, 2014, 7:01 GMT

    @marakmuradali - how come the standards accepted by India, Pakistan and SA can be termed UNIVERSAL?? Cricket is both a physical and mental game and sometimes sledging impacts on the performance of both aspects. If it is within the rules of cricket use it !

  • kensohatter on April 30, 2014, 6:59 GMT

    I love the passion and emotion from Clarke but as captain he needs to be the one in control. If it was Johnson telling anderson to get ready fo a broken arm then fair play (particularly cause anderson started that) however as captain Clarke needs to only involve himself in flashpoints to restrain his players and deal with umpires. He has too often been the cause of the flashponts which leaves the umpires with no calm head to speak to. Aside from that the Australianbrand of cricket is great. Its in your face, tactically aggressive and intimidating. They demand the opposition stand up and beat them nd are hapy to risk a loss to achieve a victory (which is great for the game cause it produces results). Id rather watch that then see England bat on to 700+ leaving the opposition to bat for a draw. Play on Australia... new dynasty in the making!

  • 1ofakind_testcricket on April 30, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    Even as an Australian sometimes I think our players can take it too far but at other times i really enjoy it. Its a white line fever thing really, players just really getting caught up in the moment and losing their heads, they just need to learn to hold back that last bit and leave out the nasty stuff that comes with frustration. Lots of players use it to try get in a war of words and it helps get them up, it triggers their fight response if they can get in some verbal and their performance lifts. Its funny growing up playing junior cricket in Australia there was a lot of ooohs and aaahs from the slips cordon and the odd swinging like a rusty gate/lack of footwork comments but there was never anything excessive or nasty about it, all in very gd nature, and i'm a very passive bloke, however get me on the soccer field and I get all heated up and need to have a bit of lip so its a lot of it is white line fever and people need to be mature enough to not go over the top.

  • imtiazjaleel on April 30, 2014, 6:06 GMT

    why there was no incident during the Indian series, when they lost 4-0. Since they were at the receiving end and could not show any aggression and just folded under pressure. When they know that they have a upper hand they start all these types of gimmicks and can get away easily. I like Australian players for their game but hate their attitude.

  • Malik_Murad on April 30, 2014, 6:00 GMT

    I understand that the Aussies play their cricket game with hard on the field but as Clarke said that he understands and respects there's a line you can't cross. Here comes the problem "Determination of a line which you think you can't cross". In terms of speaking broadly, this is a highly subjective matter. This very line can be differently sketched by different teams. The kind of sledging Aussies do while they are on the field, there are other teams who can't even think of using those words normally when they play cricket no matter how hard they play their cricket. So, in short the kind of aggression India, Pakistan, SA show that might be different from what Aussies show. This is what the Aussie Captain must understand that there is a UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED aggression or attitude which he needs to learn and understand not the one which he think is the 'line of control'.

  • VenkatChetlur on April 30, 2014, 5:56 GMT

    Sort of ridiculous to see Clarke quote 2 incidents in one year where he has had to apologize and admit he was wrong and yet say he and his team knows when not to cross the line. State of denial or plain delusional.

  • siddhartha87 on April 30, 2014, 5:53 GMT

    the day Aussie lose their aggression I will stop following their cricket. They don't only speak ,they give their 101% in the field.Clarke's batting in Newlands with a fractured fingers, MJ's devastating spells with an infected toe and Harris' epic spell on one knee shows how committed they are.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on April 30, 2014, 5:25 GMT

    The cricketing world owes Clarke a huge word of thanks for bringing back fun and excitement into the game. Nonetheless, any talk of sustained excellence will be subject to Australia's performances in unfamiliar territory.

  • rajuramki on April 30, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    Any game is played in a field where everything is even except the odds . The game is played so intensely that the players forget that they are in a play ground and not a battle field .They players seem to understand the truth when they become team mentors or coaches. It is in this respect that I appreciate Dhoni for his on field behaviour and a calm approach . Such attributes have to come to a person naturally and cannot be cultivated .

  • on April 30, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    Australia has always been a tough cricket team that how they learn to play their cricket that has been one of their main ingredients in the success of the team over the years so they will not depart from what has help them to succeed

  • stalefresh on April 30, 2014, 4:47 GMT

    Have started to respect and understand clarke. He loves test cricket and is extremely passionate. I like that.

  • derpherp on April 30, 2014, 4:38 GMT

    I'm I the only one who completely disagrees with everything the media is saying? I actually enjoy the banter and of course I support the idea that 'lines must not be crossed.' The players don't take anything said personally, so you should the media?

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on April 30, 2014, 4:23 GMT

    contd. Together with a great-and deep-pace bowling stock @ disposal with worlds best capt. @ helm Aus are soon becoming a formidable force,tough to beat for all teams.Also be no.1 or thereabouts in all formats most of the time,to add to Clarke's legacy.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on April 30, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    What a refreshing persona! A proven great bat-poss. best in world- and well on his way to being great capt. as well if Aus keep up high level of recent-which is v likely as this young Aus team has found some world class young talent and getting better.

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  • electric_loco_WAP4 on April 30, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    What a refreshing persona! A proven great bat-poss. best in world- and well on his way to being great capt. as well if Aus keep up high level of recent-which is v likely as this young Aus team has found some world class young talent and getting better.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on April 30, 2014, 4:23 GMT

    contd. Together with a great-and deep-pace bowling stock @ disposal with worlds best capt. @ helm Aus are soon becoming a formidable force,tough to beat for all teams.Also be no.1 or thereabouts in all formats most of the time,to add to Clarke's legacy.

  • derpherp on April 30, 2014, 4:38 GMT

    I'm I the only one who completely disagrees with everything the media is saying? I actually enjoy the banter and of course I support the idea that 'lines must not be crossed.' The players don't take anything said personally, so you should the media?

  • stalefresh on April 30, 2014, 4:47 GMT

    Have started to respect and understand clarke. He loves test cricket and is extremely passionate. I like that.

  • on April 30, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    Australia has always been a tough cricket team that how they learn to play their cricket that has been one of their main ingredients in the success of the team over the years so they will not depart from what has help them to succeed

  • rajuramki on April 30, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    Any game is played in a field where everything is even except the odds . The game is played so intensely that the players forget that they are in a play ground and not a battle field .They players seem to understand the truth when they become team mentors or coaches. It is in this respect that I appreciate Dhoni for his on field behaviour and a calm approach . Such attributes have to come to a person naturally and cannot be cultivated .

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on April 30, 2014, 5:25 GMT

    The cricketing world owes Clarke a huge word of thanks for bringing back fun and excitement into the game. Nonetheless, any talk of sustained excellence will be subject to Australia's performances in unfamiliar territory.

  • siddhartha87 on April 30, 2014, 5:53 GMT

    the day Aussie lose their aggression I will stop following their cricket. They don't only speak ,they give their 101% in the field.Clarke's batting in Newlands with a fractured fingers, MJ's devastating spells with an infected toe and Harris' epic spell on one knee shows how committed they are.

  • VenkatChetlur on April 30, 2014, 5:56 GMT

    Sort of ridiculous to see Clarke quote 2 incidents in one year where he has had to apologize and admit he was wrong and yet say he and his team knows when not to cross the line. State of denial or plain delusional.

  • Malik_Murad on April 30, 2014, 6:00 GMT

    I understand that the Aussies play their cricket game with hard on the field but as Clarke said that he understands and respects there's a line you can't cross. Here comes the problem "Determination of a line which you think you can't cross". In terms of speaking broadly, this is a highly subjective matter. This very line can be differently sketched by different teams. The kind of sledging Aussies do while they are on the field, there are other teams who can't even think of using those words normally when they play cricket no matter how hard they play their cricket. So, in short the kind of aggression India, Pakistan, SA show that might be different from what Aussies show. This is what the Aussie Captain must understand that there is a UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED aggression or attitude which he needs to learn and understand not the one which he think is the 'line of control'.