Australia in England 2010

Clarke retains Twenty20 captaincy

Cricinfo staff

May 24, 2010

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Michael Clarke directs traffic in the field, Australia v Pakistan, 2nd semi-final, ICC World Twenty20, St Lucia, May 14, 2010
Michael Clarke will again be calling the shots for the Twenty20 team © Getty Images
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Australia's selectors have forgiven Michael Clarke for his poor form in Twenty20, naming him to captain Australia against Pakistan in England in July. Clarke will lead the side for the two Twenty20s in Birmingham on July 5 and 6 despite his struggles with the bat in the shortest format, where his strike-rate of 101 is well below par.

Clarke was praised for his attacking captaincy at the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean, where he guided Australia to the final, but he needs to lift his scoring rate to justify his position as a batsman. He has been given virtually the same squad, with the only change being the omission of Tim Paine due to the reduced need for a backup wicketkeeper.

"We don't have any doubt that he [Clarke] has a definite role to play in Twenty20 cricket, which predominantly is a little bit different to some," Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said. "We'll be looking for him to bat through an innings when we need it. He didn't quite do that over there but we weren't concerned about it.

"The positive side was I think his captaincy was extraordinary and our tactics in Twenty20 cricket were far in advance of where they've been. Our field was I thought the best in the tournament so there were lots of positives. Obviously we lost the final so that was devastating but the other side of it is that we won six on the trot and if we'd won seven on the trot it would have been a record that maybe wouldn't have been broken in Twenty20 cricket."

In the 50-over arena, Shaun Marsh has been chosen to make his comeback to international cricket after missing the tour of New Zealand in February with a back injury. Marsh has replaced Adam Voges in the ODI squad for the one-off game against Ireland in Dublin that kicks off the tour of June 17 and the five one-day internationals against England that follow.

However, the squad to take on Pakistan in two Tests from mid-July won't be named until several contenders have fronted up for Australia A late next month. The absence of Phillip Hughes due to a shoulder injury means Usman Khawaja, Michael Klinger and the Australia A captain George Bailey will be jostling for the role of backup Test batsman when they face Sri Lanka A in Brisbane.

That series will also give Ben Hilfenhaus a chance to continue his steady return from knee tendonitis. Hilfenhaus has been chosen in the four-day Australia A squad and is hopeful of proving himself fit for the Tests against Pakistan, having not played for his country since the first Test of the home summer back in November.

"Ben Hilfenhaus is making good progress with his knee tendon injury," the physio Alex Kountouris said. "As part of his rehabilitation he has commenced bowling and has spent some time at the Cricket Australia Centre of Excellence during the past week. So far he has coped well and if his progress continues with an increasing bowling workload over the coming weeks, he'll take his place for Australia A against Sri Lanka A in preparation for possible selection in the Test squad.

"Peter Siddle is recovering well from a lower back stress fracture sustained during the Australian summer. However it was felt that there was too big a risk for his to return for the tour of England and Ireland, particularly with the important 12 months coming up. Peter remains on target to return to the playing field at the start of the Australian domestic summer. Brett Lee is recovering from the elbow muscle injury that he picked before the ICC World Twenty20 and is yet to commence bowling."

The Australia A squad also features Mitchell Marsh, the brother of Shaun and captain of Australia's Under-19 World Cup-winning squad this year. He will be joined by another player with cricketing blood, James Pattinson, the Victoria fast bowler whose brother Darren played a Test for England in 2008.

ODI squad Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Cameron White, Brad Haddin, Steven Smith, James Hopes, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Ryan Harris, Clint McKay, Doug Bollinger.

Twenty20 squad Shane Watson, David Warner, Michael Clarke (capt), Cameron White, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin, Daniel Christian, Steven Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Ryan Harris, Dirk Nannes, Shaun Tait.

Australia A four-day squad Ed Cowan, Usman Khawaja, Michael Klinger, George Bailey (capt), Peter Forrest, Andrew McDonald, Tim Paine, Mitchell Marsh, Steve O'Keefe, Ben Hilfenhaus, Josh Hazlewood, Peter George, Mitchell Starc.

Australia A one-day squad Tim Paine, Usman Khawaja, Adam Voges, George Bailey (capt), Travis Birt, Aaron Finch, Andrew McDonald, Mitchell Marsh, Xavier Doherty, Brendan Drew, James Pattinson, Jake Haberfield, Josh Hazlewood.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by THX_droid_adidas on (May 27, 2010, 9:57 GMT)

I agree with "zippydingdong" and "bolwarra". Why do they (the selectors) constantly tell everyone Clarke's Twenty20 batting will get better?? It won't!!! Yes, he's great at Test, he's there with ODIs, but not up for it in T20s. Cameron White would definitely/should be first choice captain for T20s and when Ricky Ponting retires, vice captain in the other formats, thats assuming he gets into the Test side soon!!! There's nothing really good to say about his T20 game, honestly.

Posted by bolwarra on (May 26, 2010, 23:22 GMT)

Clarke should be dropped not just for his recent poor performance with the bat but because just about every time he has batted in T20 it has been a below par performance. I don't think he ever 'fires' in T20, more like 'fizzles'. I am pretty sure his only decent innings was the tie and super over loss to NZ recently. Tellingly in that match CWhite out batted him and clarke choked in the super over. Because clarke has trouble hitting boundaries he is constantly trying for stupid singles that are not really there and either running his big hitting team mates out or nearly doing so, look at the final. If Clarkes role is to bat thru an Aus innings in T20 we will never be a champion t20 side. The Aus selectors have demonstrated they still don't really understand t20 in retaining the dead wood that is clarke in the batting line up. His captaincy in t20 is problematic mostly because of his poor batting, clearly White could easily fill those shoes based on his Vic Bushrangers experience.

Posted by 68704 on (May 25, 2010, 14:13 GMT)

How on earth does a person get dropped after one series, particularly after the team which was not even ranked, makes it to the finals? Australia have been a disaster in the limited version of the game, the T20 one I mean and their performance this time was pretty good. They had one bad game preceded by a brilliant one in the semis. Clarke"s strike rate is poor and he is dependent on the Watsons, Whites and Warners. But Tendulkar has demonstrated the value of batting through the innings and he hit more fours than anyone else in the IPL. I think Clarke"s time will come and it is not such a crisis as the team has so many players with a strike rate of near 150. I think Australia have clearly got or are getting their T20 act together. Captains go through a bad patch but I think White can wait and now he is able to bat without the additional tension of captaincy. I do hope that White will get a test cap soon and why is not Warner in the one day squad. It will help to have a dasher there.

Posted by deanc on (May 25, 2010, 14:10 GMT)

zippydingdong - Agree with your opening line but selfishness is Clarke's issue with his T20 batting. It make look selfish but clearing his front foot to hit sixes and slogs to cow corner are simply not is his repertoire. Even though I'm not a fan of T20 captaining a team for 40 overs can be just as demanding as longer formats. In T20 you almost need to captain (make decisions) ball-by-ball. In test cricket a bowler can have a ordinary spell of say 5-6 overs and captains have time (sessions) to make changes to counter that. Not sure who your mates are but don't let Clarke's smooth media interviews fool you. A few little birdies around the current scene suggest he will be an astute, ruthless and successful test captain. After all do you really think anyone that served an apprenticeship under Ponting (who served under Waugh) is going to be a cream puff?

Posted by CricketMaan on (May 25, 2010, 12:20 GMT)

@howizzat - You seem to not understand difference between Realitya and Luxury. In Australia, some of thier best bowlers like Dougie, McKay or other prospects don't get a game coz there top 15 are so good at what they do. In India if there is no Zak or Ashish who do you fall back on. Its all about bench strength. What i do agree with you is the professional set up that CA has built over the years when they vowed to hit back after the 80's, while in India, our own national team does not even recognize NCA set up as its just a farce and nothing more than a building with bricks..

Posted by CricketMaan on (May 25, 2010, 12:17 GMT)

ahaha..the fight here on selections and the NSW bias is so similar to what we have back home in India. I suppose its such a common thing this selection. There is always some one who deserves a spot misses out and then there is always one group which targets a particular state or its selector of bias.. a never ending saga..this selection...

Posted by zippydingdong on (May 25, 2010, 11:11 GMT)

I can understand why some people would want Pup to stay as captain,but I am definetly not one of those people.His performance as a batsman was shocking not just at the tournament but previously at other T20 games.He always bats for himself for me and I can not stand it,its not what Australia is about.As for his captaining I thought it was just on par he was basic and pretty much the norm,T20 captain doesnt take that much 20 overs of being switched on,I personally would have loved to see Hussey rewarded with the captaincy.Cameron White is a proven leader on the big stage in this format.If Huss and White are too far gone why not David Hussey.As for the fact Clarke has been groomed for the test and ODI captaincy I am worried,he is not the hardened cricketer like Ponting,Waugh,Border etc.I have very good advice from mates who have played at a decent level against/with Pup and he is a not all that gooder bloke as hes made out.Former coach John Buchanon swears Clarke is not the right man!

Posted by popcorn on (May 25, 2010, 4:57 GMT)

I was confident that Cricket Australia would be sensible and balanced to retain Michael Clarke as the Twenty20 captain. He has shown astute leadership, and is bein nicely groomed to take over the ODI and Test captaincies when Ricky Ponting retires.

Posted by boris6491 on (May 25, 2010, 3:43 GMT)

What seems to be beyond me is the whole "reduced need for a backup wicketkeeper" part. Whether there is a need for a back up or not, (and there is most certainly a need, if Haddin gets injured which he has frequently in the past, what are Australia going to do?) by taking Paine along gives him the confidence and environment to learn. He is a fine young player and considering CA have made it clear that they are grooming him as Haddin's successor (Haddin isn't exactly young), he should be given as many touring opportunities as possible regardless of whether he plays or not. Again, Bollinger I feel is unlucky to miss out on the T20 squad, he seems to have done nothing wrong to warrant his omission.As for Clarke, he is skating on thin ice. He may have captained with foresight and aggression, but unless he ups his output from a batting perspective, the selectors will have no choice but to replace him. I think he needs to stay at number 3 rather than in a finishing role.

Posted by Winsome on (May 24, 2010, 20:57 GMT)

Cutting and Hastings have both had surgery recently that is why they are not there (or at least I hope that is why Cutting isn't there.)

O'Keefe has been picked, I assume, purely due to a dearth of other prospects and of course being from NSW doesn't hurt. It is good that they have picked players that they see as being part of the future national squads like Hazlewood, Marsh and Khawaja.

But I don't know how Trent Copeland missed out apart from just lack of time that he has been in the Shield comp.

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