Clarke makes up with Kumble
Michael Clarke says he has cleared the air with Anil Kumble over two of the controversies that flared in the second innings of the Sydney Test. Clarke stood his ground after edging Kumble to first slip and then, as India were fighting to save the game, he claimed a catch off Sourav Ganguly while fielding in the slip cordon, although there were doubts over whether the take was clean.
"I wanted to speak to Anil before I spoke to the media on both cases - the catch and my dismissal," Clarke said. "I still, to this day, feel 100% positive that I caught the catch fairly. I told him that and said with my dismissal that it was more out of shock and disappointment more than anything else.
"Anil was very supportive and said 'mate I understand'. We've played a fair bit of cricket against each other and he knows I'm not the kind of person to try and harm the game; the last thing I'd want is to put the game in jeopardy."
Kumble had criticised Clarke for not walking after edging to slip and called it "unsportsmanlike" behaviour. "Huss [Michael Hussey] and Haydos [Matthew Hayden] batted fantastic in the second innings, so I sat and waited for a couple of hours dying to get out and have a bat," Clarke said.
"I was really excited to get out there and do well, with family and friends all at the game, after failing in the first innings. When I went to cut the ball and it come off my glove and went to slip it was more just the shock and disappointment of failing and getting my first first-baller in Test cricket.
"In hindsight and if I had my time again, I wish I had just walked straight off the field. I hope it doesn't happen too many times, I hope I don't get too many ducks in Test cricket, but if it happens again, I'm certain I will react differently."
Clarke would not be drawn on the Harbhajan-Symonds controversy but said there was no room for racism in the game. "That's why the ICC and the Indian board dealt with the stuff with spectators in India [during the ODI series in October]."
He said he was not sure how Australia would have reacted if "we were in their shoes" but hoped that India would not boycott the series. "Fingers crossed I'm hoping they definitely stay for the rest of the Test series and the one-dayers because you look forward to every chance you get to play India. It's up to BCCI and Anil and whoever is in charge."
Clarke said he was positive the Perth Test, which starts on Wednesday, would be played in the right spirit after the problems in Sydney. Australia will be pushing for their 17th consecutive Test victory, a triumph that would break the world record set by Steve Waugh's Australians between 1999 and 2001.
"The Australians are keen as mustard to get out here and win this 17th Test match in a row," he said. "It's a reminder about why we are the best cricket team in the world, what we do to achieve such highs in all forms of the game except Twenty20 at the moment. I think he [Ricky Ponting] will want to remind us about that and make sure that we keep playing it like that for a long time."
It might one day be Clarke who sets outs to guide an Australian side past the record again, as there has been much speculation that he is being groomed to eventually succeed Ponting as the Test captain. But Clarke said he was unsure how he would have handled the events of the past week had he been in Ponting's shoes.
"Full credit to the way he has stood tall," Clarke said. "It's been a hell of a ride in the last week. I don't think many players have experienced what we've experienced. I think it's opened everybody's eyes as to how big this game of cricket is. You don't know until you are sitting in the chair, I don't know if I'd have handled it like Ricky; I am not sure how I would have approached it."