India v Australia, 2nd Test, Hyderabad, 4th day March 5, 2013

Clarke to move up the order


Michael Clarke has confirmed that he will move up the order from his customary No. 5 position after Australia's shambolic display in both innings in Hyderabad. Clarke is the joint leading run-scorer in the series with 268, the same tally as India's captain MS Dhoni, and more than double scored by any other member of Australia's top six.

He scored 130 in the first innings in Chennai and followed that with 91 on the first day in Hyderabad but neither effort could prevent a heavy defeat. Despite his outstanding form since taking over the captaincy in 2011, Clarke has steadfastly remained at No. 5, but given the struggles of Phillip Hughes and Shane Watson at Nos. 3 and 4 in this series, that will change for the third Test.

"I think I have no choice," Clarke said after the innings loss in Hyderabad. "Again, it hasn't been about me, it's about trying to do what's best for the team, and I think now, especially in these conditions, I have to bat higher."

When asked if that would mean first drop or second drop, Clarke said: "I've got nine days to work it out. Wherever I can go and put some runs on the board to help the team."

Although Ed Cowan showed some signs during the second innings that he had learnt from his first three efforts and occupied the crease for nearly three hours, the rest of the batting order collapsed. So far in this series Watson has made 28, 17, 23 and 9; Hughes has scored 6, 0, 19 and 0; Cowan has managed 29, 32, 4 and 44 and Warner has tallied 59, 23, 6 and 26.

"I don't think picking your batting order can revolve around one person, the team needs the team to play well," Clarke said. "We need our top six batters to be scoring runs, we need our four, five or six bowlers to be taking wickets. It can't be about one person. I've never played cricket that way and I don't want this team to go to that.

"We have enough talent, but we have to get better, every single one of us. I would have liked more runs in the first innings and more runs today in the second innings, so I have work to do as well. I don't want it to be about the individuals, I want it to be about the whole team improving.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Srinivas on March 6, 2013, 21:36 GMT

    That's the most pragmatic decision. While you are at it, get in Khawaja and Lyon into the final XI.

  • Anupam on March 6, 2013, 15:04 GMT

    Usman Khawaja will be the another member of Highly overrated FlopStars. Khawaja is a ordinary below average batsman. S.Marsh, Voges, Ferguson, Doolan, Cosgrove, Birt, Quiney, North, Klinger, Roger, etc are far far Better than khawaja.

  • Jay on March 6, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    I still think if Hussey was there, Him and Clarke wouldve posted 300+ run partnerships.

  • Dummy4 on March 6, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    Clarke can't bat below 3. Absolutely no excuse if he does so as he's BADLY needed as high up the order as this team will allow. The 'balance' he has spoken about previously in regards to his batting at 5 just hasn't been there, with four openers in the top 4, your keeper batting in a specialist bat position, and the recent experiment of playing 2 all-rounders in Maxwell and Henriques. Go back to basics. I would have 1 Watson 2 Warner 3 Clarke 4 Cowan 5 Khawaja 6 Henriques 7 Wade 8 Johnson* 9 Pattinson 10 Doherty** 11 Lyon.

    2 openers. A better looking middle order. 1 all-rounder. 2 spinners and 2 seamers (better balance for the conditions).

    *Johnson comes in as I think Siddle could do with a rest. Johnson's aggression and being a lefty could be more useful than Siddle, who's been outbowled by Pattinson.

    **Doherty in as a left-arm foil for the right armed Lyon. Would rather our specialist spinner be given the benefit over a limited overs specialist masquerading as a test player.

  • kent on March 6, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    A word of caution here for Clarke and Australia. Remember folks cricket above all else is a game of the mind. Clarke has grown accustomed to batting at no. 5 and he has performed excellently, if I dare so remarkably so, at this position, no matter the state of the game or the state of the pitch. To my mind this is his groove slot and it works for him. Although moving up even one notch may appear to be innocuous, it can and may take time to adjust, since the psychology and thinking at that position is not the same. Ask Chanderpaul, he has refused to go higher in the WI order, although he is one of the most consistent batters in the game today. Study some of the greats, Lara, Ponting and Tendulkar who batted at different positions, one will discover that there is one position they perform best at, where they are most comfortable. Clarke performs best at no. 5, leave him be! The problem is the other guys, let them shape up or ship out and get batters who can do the business.

  • Dummy4 on March 6, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    Move him up the order and keep him there! Aussies need it. Especially so that he can face the new ball against Finn & Anderson on the greens of England ;)

  • Raja on March 6, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    Its a phase which every team goes through in its transition period... Clarke and his men will bounce back... just like India is doing now after the 0-8 and 1-2 humiliation, they are peaking again into #2 spot... Aussie cricketers are known for their grit, skill and aggression... grit and aggression are available now, skill will develop soon :)

  • Rakshit on March 6, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    Watson has better avg as a opener than any other positions while batting. This should be the batting order and team for Australia if they want to avoid whitewash - Warner, Watson, Cowan, Clarke, Khawaja, Wade, Henriques, Johnson, Siddle, Pattinson and Lyon.

  • Mariam on March 6, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    Australian cricket can only improve from here. At last! Clarke will bat higher up, Hughes needs to go,and Cowan will meet the same fate if he doesn't convert his 20s and 30s. Khawaja is a bright star in the team but for heaven's sake give the kid a real run and not one game. Australia facing Test-series whitewash in India, and there is not doubt that Clarke clueless on Watson's batting woes, Clarke says anger won't help Aussies, and that change is needed before The Ashes, and its my belief that Australian cricket has finally gone around the bend but we ned to pick players based on merit and not on who is close to the captain and coach.