Pakistan v Australia, 2nd Test, Headingley July 19, 2010

Top-order Clarke eyes big runs


Michael Clarke insists his promotion to No. 4 makes no difference to his game despite the added responsibility of moving one step closer to the top of the order. Clarke has spent most of his career at No. 5, but having been Australia's best middle-order player over the past 12 months, he has shifted up a spot at the request of the captain Ricky Ponting.

Clarke's previous stint at No. 4 was short and unsuccessful; after the 2005 Ashes he was handed the role when Damien Martyn was dropped, but he lasted only three Tests for scores of 39, 5, 5, 14 not out and 5. Then came Clarke's own axing from the side, and when he returned to the team six months later, he was reinstalled down the order.

"Ricky came and grabbed Michael Hussey and myself at training the morning of the Derby game and told us what was happening," Clarke said ahead of the Leeds Test. "For me it hasn't fazed me. When I was younger I cared more about the position I batted. After getting dropped from the Australian team, for me it was always just about being the team, it doesn't matter where I bat."

Before the series Ponting said the change, which involved Hussey moving to No. 5, was about getting one of his most in-form batsmen in as early as possible. Clarke's highest Test score is the 168 he collected in Hobart against Pakistan in January and he is hopeful that batting higher in the list he will have the opportunity to bat for longer periods.

"You probably get in a little bit earlier against the newer ball and if you make a big score, you can probably make a really big one, knowing you've got at least one more batter behind you," Clarke said. "But my role doesn't really change, you play the same way. Conditions dictate how much fast bowling you face compared to how much spin you face. I haven't changed my game at all because I'm batting No. 4."

Clarke has reasonably good memories of Headingley after scoring 93 there last year during Australia's innings victory over England and the Australians will head to the venue in fine spirits this time after beating Pakistan at Lord's. The Pakistan side will have a new captain, Salman Butt, after the surprise retirement of Shahid Afridi, and Clarke said he would be missed.

"Losing your captain would be quite a change, but in saying that he hasn't played that much Test cricket over the last five years anyway," Clarke said. "Afridi has been a wonderful player for Pakistan. He's played a lot of cricket, especially one-day cricket and has a lot of experience, and I think he'll be missed in the Test cricket as well."

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jordan on July 21, 2010, 9:04 GMT

    clarke is good but ponting is better

  • Dummy4 on July 21, 2010, 6:55 GMT

    @bjcm12 ... are you serious? Pup's maturity is very slow? You really don't watch the game, do you? If you think that the development of Michael Clarke's maturity is in question you really need to take another look.

  • Dummy4 on July 20, 2010, 16:54 GMT

    i dont know why i read rickt to b dropped and all but if u guys actually follow a bit more cricket, ull notice tht he scored 200 against pakistan at hobart. thats 4 tests ago...and he's got 11000 runs...its like asking sachin and dravid to retire...and fill their spots with rookies who are obsessed with T20 and are a bunch of hoondlums..jeeshhh..why do u people get so emotional..think rationally and analyse the game...test cricket id like inception...many levels...greater depth

  • natmastak on July 20, 2010, 10:53 GMT

    the link given in this article "over the last 12 months" clearly suggests that punter is only weak link in this aus line up .i am sure aus bench strength is strong enough that they can replace this guy. @ ishan zende : all the vwry best to digest pak's next 4 defeats,only raingods or mediocrity by opposition can save u.

  • Subba on July 20, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    Clarke and Hussey should come in at No 3 &4. High time Ponting dropped himself down and let the more prolific players take over and build the innings.

  • Jaminda on July 20, 2010, 5:47 GMT

    Pup's maturity is very slow. I doubt whether he will fit in to the captain shoes.

  • Dummy4 on July 19, 2010, 23:53 GMT

    Clarke is wery good player Clarke is out the form that is probleem now ;)

  • Srivatsan on July 19, 2010, 22:57 GMT

    surprising how Pak supporters wish Clarke good luck against India, first mind your own country folks then you can see what he does with other teams..

  • Prashant on July 19, 2010, 19:32 GMT

    Clarke a T20 dud nd Test superstar!!

  • Dummy4 on July 19, 2010, 16:02 GMT

    Pakistan Haaye Haaye.............

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