Waugh tells Clarke to tighten technique
Steve Waugh believes Michael Clarke needs to "tighten up his technique" but does not have to overhaul his match-winning game plan. Clarke admitted during the weekend he had to score runs during the second Test at Hobart this week to avoid the same fate as Simon Katich, who was cut from the squad, and Waugh predicted the omission of Australia's new No. 4 was inevitable.
"At some stage, like most players, he'll probably get dropped," Waugh told the magazine Inside Cricket. "I think in some ways it's good because you reassess, you analyse and you work out how you can improve."
However, Waugh said Clarke had the tools for long-term Test success. "He's learning in front of the world and it's not an easy place to make mistakes," Waugh said. "He's got things he can work on. He's got a good temperament. He's a good listener, which is really crucial. He's got his feet on the ground. But he's going to go through some tough times."
Waugh understands the difficulties of growing up in the spotlight and struggled when trying to develop his best method to combat Test attacks. Dropped in 1990-91 for his brother Mark, Waugh changed from an attacking approach to a more defence-orientated style on the 1993 Ashes tour and it helped him become the world's best batsman.
While Waugh rebuilt his outlook he said Clarke's technique was the thing that had to be tightened. "You don't want to change him," he said, "because he's a match-winner and that's the way he plays his game."
"I know the reality," Clarke said in the Sunday Age. "I'm not stupid, I need to score runs. That's the way our game is. The reality is that I haven't scored a hundred for a little while and people are trying to find out why. There are some past players and people in the public who might think my technique is terrible. I've got no problem with constructive criticism, but the way some people have spoken it's like there's some major problems and that's a bit frustrating."
Clarke has scored two centuries in 19 Tests but has not reached three figures since his 141 against New Zealand at Brisbane last summer. In his next 14 games he has struggled to match his early brilliance and scored 526 runs at an average of 26.30.