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November 19, 2006
Several Australian Test greats have urged the selectors to play Michael Clarke in Thursday's first Ashes Test even if Shane Watson is declared fit. Ian Chappell, Steve Waugh, Doug Walters and Michael Slater all said Clarke, who was added to the squad in case Watson's hamstring injury rules him out, should have been in the team anyway.
"I really don't count Watson's bowling as sufficient enough to put him ahead of Clarke," Chappell told the Sun-Herald. "I really think that you're talking about two batsmen here and, if you're picking a batsman then, to me, Michael Clarke was the better option."
Waugh said Clarke's limited game time this year was a concern but should not count against him. "If they want a batsman, it has to be Michael Clarke," Waugh said. "He's done what the selectors have asked of him - to go back and score runs."
Walters said Australia's ageing batting line-up needed an injection of youth and Clarke should be fast-tracked into the side. "They should go for the bloke who should have been there in the first place," Walters said. "He hasn't done too badly given the limited opportunities he's had.
"We're going to be looking for some batsmen in six months and they're going to have to call him in then. Why not get him in now? Why wait six months? He's 25 and you can't keep calling up 35-year-old blokes to replace 38-year-olds."
Slater said Clarke deserved another chance. "I must admit I'd love to see Clarkey get a go," Slater said. "I'm a huge fan of his. I think he should be in the Test side. But it seems they regard him as a No.6 and they've been looking for an allrounder in that spot."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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