Pakistan v Australia 2012 August 21, 2012

Stern Clarke pushes for harder team culture

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A year after the Argus review delivered a damning indictment of Australian cricket's culture, the national captain Michael Clarke has delivered a stern reminder that much still needed to improve if the team are to rise above what he called an "unacceptable" present.

Before departing for an ODI tour of the UAE that will take in matches against Afghanistan and Pakistan, Clarke outlined how he and the coach Mickey Arthur had stressed at the team's Darwin camp that representing Australia is no laughing matter, requiring harder work and higher standards than anything at first-class level.

Their message was supported by the embarrassing mid-year tour of England, which saw the ODI team routed 4-0 to surrender top spot in the ICC rankings. With an increasingly youthful, changing team around him, Clarke is adamant that the players with whom he shares a dressing room take responsibility for their roles and acknowledge that, while talent may have lifted them into the Australian team, hard work alone will keep them there.

"The most important thing for Mickey and myself is to continue to build the culture we want," Clarke said in Sydney. "For me the reason I sit where I am today is because of hard work; preparation and hard work are the only two answers for me to be representing Australia, and that's something that I will continue to push with the young Aussie boys who haven't played too much cricket around us.

"There is a difference between first-class cricket and playing for Australia. Yes, you have to be very talented to be playing for your state, and to get selected for Australia, but the amount of cricket you play these days, the amount you travel, there's a lot of difference.

"The most important thing is the culture. We want to make sure we've got the right culture, which we've been working on really hard since Mickey's come in, and I think we're certainly getting there...hard work and preparation is something I'll continue to push."

Clarke spoke frankly that all players had to deliver far more with actions than words, after several players' pre-series pronouncements were made to look decidedly hollow when the tourists were completely outplayed by an England side who were themselves then beaten by South Africa to lose the top Test match ranking.

"The other thing I spoke about on the camp was it's actually not about what you say, it's about what we do as a team," Clarke said. "We've all sat in meetings and heard the coach or the captain have their opinions and say what they felt, but it's now up to us as individual players and a team to do something about it, to realise we sit fourth in the ODI rankings, third in the Test rankings and ninth in the Twenty20 rankings. Every player knows that's unacceptable for an Australian team to sit there, but that's easy to say - it's now about what we do.

"It's not about being selected and that's it, go and have a good time. There's a lot that comes with representing your country, on and off the field and it's just about making it very clear to all the boys that we all sit on the same line, there's no-one special in the team, everyone has the same rules, the same guidelines and the same expectations.

"I'm pretty sure all the players know where we sit now, we know how hard it's going to be, Darwin was a great indication of how hard we're going to have to work to get back to being the No. 1 team in all three forms - we've set a good standard."

These words echoed many of those contained in Don Argus' review of the Australian team's performance, released on August 19 last year. It was a frankly worded excoriation of a decline that followed the retirements of Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Justin Langer and Adam Gilchrist in the 12 months after the 2007 Ashes victory.

Australia's first match is against Afghanistan on Saturday, before three matches against Pakistan. Clarke expected spin to play a major role in the matches, a measure the touring party prepared for on slow, spinning wickets prepared to emulate those of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

"We've got a lot of work to do to get back to the No. 1 one day team in the world, where we'd all like to be," Clarke said. "We came up against a pretty good team in England in conditions they were used to, their confidence was pretty high as well after beating the West Indies. But it's no different against Pakistan, they know these conditions really well, I think spin's going to play a huge part in this series, both facing it and bowling it."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jezzastyles on August 24, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    @Hammond: Ian Chappell was a very good batsmen and one of the better captains in any era. Greg Chappell was a hugely talented batsmen - if he were born in the current era, he'd have a record every bit as good as Ponting. He was pure class and a joy to watch (especially when off-driving or cover-driving). As @Meety has already pointed out, sledging is a part of this game, and it always has been. One important thing you forget is that cricketers from the 80's and earlier used to live by the "what happens on the field stays on the field" mentality, and most would enjoy a beer together after the game. I too cringe at some of the antics from players in the past, but it is part & parcel of the game. If the umpires need to get involved, they do, and disciplinary action can be taken against players if it is warranted. Ultimately, the captain should intervene if he feels his players are getting carried away - players have emotions, they're not robots, we're way too critical/judgemental.

  • Meety on August 24, 2012, 1:00 GMT

    @OzzyHammond - mate your knowledge of cricket is unbelievably shallow! Sledging in various formats has been in the game since Dr Grace! So bitter. you must of forgotten to pay the gas bill in your little 1 bedroom apartment in London! @Ahmed Hussain - good comments as usual. Sledging which I think is a term that encompasses a broad range of both acceptable & unacceptable practises. I think say the slip cordon openly discussing a batsmen's technical weaknesses is fine but abuse that could be prosecuted as verbal abuse is not.

  • MattyP1979 on August 23, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    I actually look at the rankings and see a pretty fair reflection of where team lie. I think Aus are higher than 9th in 20/20 though. Cricket is a better place when there are no real for-gone conclusions. Every team on their day are capable. I would love to see NZ/Wi play better and sort out IPL issues. And of course Pak to sort its off feild non-sense.

  • on August 23, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    As for this series well ODI at least, Pakistan looks to me that they will win this at least 2-1 considering the sort of conditions they are playing at if not 3-0. Though Australia are a great side, they're clearly not the side they were back 5 or so years ago where they seemingly won everything but anyway best of luck to both teams at least for once this series means something because its been a while since we seen these two teams contest in a series.

  • on August 23, 2012, 15:50 GMT

    For those who are debating about sledging its perfectly fine because it makes the game and contest liven up and pumps up the players but if its something which goes way over the top which unfortunately can happen at times then it can lead to major problems not just on the field but off the field as well. Its all about maintaining your composure and rhythm and who's strong mentally.

  • RVC-38 on August 23, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    yes Hammond, as we say in Australia those figures are bog average, I am happy we are third in the world in tests, but i am not so sure thats a good thing for world cricket or a blight on the rankings system. as for T20 who cares.

  • Hammond on August 23, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    @Meety- sledging is shamefully the Australian cricket legacy. Before Ian & Greg none of the teams in world cricket sledged. If NZ are good at sledging then you can be sure as anything that they learnt from the best.

  • on August 23, 2012, 7:44 GMT

    I think they should take each game directly in front of them and set out to win it. They look too far ahead to the Ashes all the time. South Africa is coming to Australia this season. If Australia are too arrogant and just assume they will be number 1 by looking too far ahead, they are gonna get smashed

  • Meety on August 23, 2012, 1:36 GMT

    @dalboy12 - funny you mention sledging, as the Black Caps are amongst the biggest sledgers in Test cricket! Post Hadlee, I don't enjoy beating your mob, I loathe a loss (ala Hobart), but I almost always go for the Kiwis when not in direct competition with an Ozzy person or team!

  • dalboy12 on August 22, 2012, 23:20 GMT

    I'm a kiwi, which means i generally will say nothing nice about Australia and one of the great joys of my life is watching their cricket team lose. Although that Glen McGrath has left with all sledging etc that use to come with him losing, its not so much fun any more. But even as a kiwi --- I have to face that Australia in cricket is what the All Blacks are to rugby. They have so much depth ---- and it won't be very long before they are playing for the top positions again. They will have short re-building phrases but just the depth of players, the ideal cricket conditions and the status of the game in Aussie mean they will always around the top. There will be some interesting clashes coming up though between England, SA and Aussie not to mention Pakistan and India as they also rebuild. As for as poor old Kiwis until we get some batsman who can score 100s we will just be a dangerous t20 n ODI team that pulls off the occasional big win in test cricket.

  • jezzastyles on August 24, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    @Hammond: Ian Chappell was a very good batsmen and one of the better captains in any era. Greg Chappell was a hugely talented batsmen - if he were born in the current era, he'd have a record every bit as good as Ponting. He was pure class and a joy to watch (especially when off-driving or cover-driving). As @Meety has already pointed out, sledging is a part of this game, and it always has been. One important thing you forget is that cricketers from the 80's and earlier used to live by the "what happens on the field stays on the field" mentality, and most would enjoy a beer together after the game. I too cringe at some of the antics from players in the past, but it is part & parcel of the game. If the umpires need to get involved, they do, and disciplinary action can be taken against players if it is warranted. Ultimately, the captain should intervene if he feels his players are getting carried away - players have emotions, they're not robots, we're way too critical/judgemental.

  • Meety on August 24, 2012, 1:00 GMT

    @OzzyHammond - mate your knowledge of cricket is unbelievably shallow! Sledging in various formats has been in the game since Dr Grace! So bitter. you must of forgotten to pay the gas bill in your little 1 bedroom apartment in London! @Ahmed Hussain - good comments as usual. Sledging which I think is a term that encompasses a broad range of both acceptable & unacceptable practises. I think say the slip cordon openly discussing a batsmen's technical weaknesses is fine but abuse that could be prosecuted as verbal abuse is not.

  • MattyP1979 on August 23, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    I actually look at the rankings and see a pretty fair reflection of where team lie. I think Aus are higher than 9th in 20/20 though. Cricket is a better place when there are no real for-gone conclusions. Every team on their day are capable. I would love to see NZ/Wi play better and sort out IPL issues. And of course Pak to sort its off feild non-sense.

  • on August 23, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    As for this series well ODI at least, Pakistan looks to me that they will win this at least 2-1 considering the sort of conditions they are playing at if not 3-0. Though Australia are a great side, they're clearly not the side they were back 5 or so years ago where they seemingly won everything but anyway best of luck to both teams at least for once this series means something because its been a while since we seen these two teams contest in a series.

  • on August 23, 2012, 15:50 GMT

    For those who are debating about sledging its perfectly fine because it makes the game and contest liven up and pumps up the players but if its something which goes way over the top which unfortunately can happen at times then it can lead to major problems not just on the field but off the field as well. Its all about maintaining your composure and rhythm and who's strong mentally.

  • RVC-38 on August 23, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    yes Hammond, as we say in Australia those figures are bog average, I am happy we are third in the world in tests, but i am not so sure thats a good thing for world cricket or a blight on the rankings system. as for T20 who cares.

  • Hammond on August 23, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    @Meety- sledging is shamefully the Australian cricket legacy. Before Ian & Greg none of the teams in world cricket sledged. If NZ are good at sledging then you can be sure as anything that they learnt from the best.

  • on August 23, 2012, 7:44 GMT

    I think they should take each game directly in front of them and set out to win it. They look too far ahead to the Ashes all the time. South Africa is coming to Australia this season. If Australia are too arrogant and just assume they will be number 1 by looking too far ahead, they are gonna get smashed

  • Meety on August 23, 2012, 1:36 GMT

    @dalboy12 - funny you mention sledging, as the Black Caps are amongst the biggest sledgers in Test cricket! Post Hadlee, I don't enjoy beating your mob, I loathe a loss (ala Hobart), but I almost always go for the Kiwis when not in direct competition with an Ozzy person or team!

  • dalboy12 on August 22, 2012, 23:20 GMT

    I'm a kiwi, which means i generally will say nothing nice about Australia and one of the great joys of my life is watching their cricket team lose. Although that Glen McGrath has left with all sledging etc that use to come with him losing, its not so much fun any more. But even as a kiwi --- I have to face that Australia in cricket is what the All Blacks are to rugby. They have so much depth ---- and it won't be very long before they are playing for the top positions again. They will have short re-building phrases but just the depth of players, the ideal cricket conditions and the status of the game in Aussie mean they will always around the top. There will be some interesting clashes coming up though between England, SA and Aussie not to mention Pakistan and India as they also rebuild. As for as poor old Kiwis until we get some batsman who can score 100s we will just be a dangerous t20 n ODI team that pulls off the occasional big win in test cricket.

  • Trapper439 on August 22, 2012, 22:24 GMT

    I've said it before, but Andrew Hilditch learned nothing from his own days as a player. He played in the aftermath of the simultaneous retirements of Marsh, Lillee and G.Chappell, and yet he allowed a similar mass exodus of talent under his watch when he was head selector. Warne and McGrath should have been told that they would not be allowed to retire at the same time, even if that meant axing one of them a year early in order to allow the other to lead the attack and impart his experience to the younger bowlers. Instead Mitchell Johnson was thrust into the role of leader of the attack, and it was a debacle. In the dark days of the '80s it took a hard nut like Border to reinstil the dressing room culture of the I.Chappell days, and I'm increasingly hopeful that Clarke will be able to do the same. He's matured immeasurably as a player since he took on the captaincy. Also, our younger batsmen really need to step up. A stylish 30 here and there before getting out to a soft shot won't do.

  • Lankan_Pride1981 on August 22, 2012, 22:13 GMT

    @Marcio I wasnt talking about Sri Lanka. they are vey weak. Bangaladesh and may be even ireland can beat them. but with Aus remeber you dont have good operners, ageing middle order and no front line spinner. fast bowlers are good but they are injured. will get beaten by SA easily. Pakistan will probably beat them as well

  • MattyP1979 on August 22, 2012, 19:35 GMT

    Chris_P. Thanks, but I can name about 20 of your countrymen that post anti-anglo non-sense. This series although not a test could provide us with some clues about teams depth and ability. Aus have always had a fighting spirit (you get that from us lol) but with such a golden era just gone there was always going to be a re-building phase. It is the length of time that we differ in opinion. I for one dont want to see Pattenson/Cummins thrown in at the deep end as many of the Eng bowlers were. Nor some of the younger batsman being chopped and changed like the bad old days for Eng.

  • on August 22, 2012, 15:07 GMT

    Australia can improve there ranking in this series if they only manage hafeez n ajmal coz rest looks pretty thin, to be realistic. And we all know Pak'x batting,unfortunately, but they cant chase any score above 230 as long as Misbah is captain of our team. best of wishes for PAK n plz azhar n misbah, atleast rotate the strike on regular basis.......Cheers!!!!!

  • Mr.Moody on August 22, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    hey clarkie try to find another mcgrath and warnie....winning culture will be back then. winning with the team whose captain is Bailey [who is this guy BTW, never heard alot about this guy] i think this shows the 'depth' of current oz team. they lack 'class' players. how can a team be classified as a class team if their captain himself is an unknown player!!!!

  • Hammond on August 22, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    Australia have a lot of work to do. They are ranked 3rd in the world in tests, 4th in odi's, and 9th in 20/20. Not exactly world beating statistics. More.. bog average wouldn't you say?

  • Chris_P on August 22, 2012, 14:36 GMT

    @Hammond. And this from a NSW Central West lad? They got some of the toughest cricketers about out there. Most of the players out there are straight from the Steve Waugh academy of helpful hints.

  • zenboomerang on August 22, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    @dsig3... re: hammond... "cut & run" comes to mind... No real Oz person would be such a non-entity to his nation...

  • landl47 on August 22, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    I'm a big fan of Clarke, I think he's an excellent captain and gets the best out of his players. He also has that touch of imagination which Ponting lacked. Whether he has enough talent at his disposal to take Australia above South Africa and England, I guess we'll see in the next year.

  • Hammond on August 22, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    I am Australian. Simple as that. And it is 100% fact that I was born and raised in New South Wales. And I reserve the right to stop following my own countries team. The English cricket team has been far more satisfying to watch on so many different levels than any Australian team since Mark Taylor retired. The sheer arrogance in that "great" Aussie team was so breathtakingly un-Australian it made me switch allegiances. The taste of that arrogance is still so sour in my mouth I'm never going back to following the baggy green. My son can follow the green and gold if he wants. But Waugh & Ponting turned me completely off.

  • dsig3 on August 22, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    @MattyP1979 everyone guns for the top dog I am afraid. India, and now England have wilted. Dont expect to be loved by other countries for very long when you get the mace. Aus copped it for nearly 20 years but were hard enough to take it, sadly you soap dodgers are not. Some teams could cope, others.......well lose 2 nil at home.

  • dsig3 on August 22, 2012, 10:54 GMT

    Oh Hammond, either he is a liar claiming to be Australian, or he is the loneliest man down under. Either way, its all a bit sad.....

  • Marcio on August 22, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    @Hammond, most of the negative comments on the SA articles were clearly by Indians angry at comments posted by English fans from previous ENG vs India series - and you know it. I won't try to work out why you constantly bash everything Australian to the point of nausea (while claiming to be one).

  • Bicazian on August 22, 2012, 9:37 GMT

    @Hammond I do not think England will regain that no 1 very soon either

  • RVC-38 on August 22, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    @Hammond there you go again making predictions, do you ever learn ??

  • Reverend-Cavalier on August 22, 2012, 8:06 GMT

    My team for first test v SA

    1. Cowan 2. Warner 3. Hughes 4. Clarke 5. M. Hussey 6. Watson 7. Wade 8. Pattinson 9. Hilfenhaus 10. Lyon 11. Cummins

  • Reverend-Cavalier on August 22, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    I don't really care where Australia rank in T20 and ODI compared to Test cricket. If we beat South Africa by any margin this Spring we will be No. 1 and then the job really begins to maintain that rank. The series against SA will be a measure of how far this team really has come in the past 2 years. I like Clarke as Captain. He thinks quickly and makes decisive calls and has led with the bat. He is also politically correct. Underneath that I sense a hardness that is now ready to emerge. There is no doubt Steve Waugh's teams were successful due, in part, to the way they played the game. He also had the luxury of some of the all time greats in his teams, including himself. So long as Clarke continues to chase the win, we will get the results.

  • Hammond on August 22, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    @rickyvoncanterbury - of course you won't be chest beating. You aren't the number one test side in the world. And unlike England (who will regain this status) you won't be number one again for a long, long time. Pakistan will beat Australia easily in the UAE and then another summer of pain (like the glorious 2010/11 summer) will be upon you. And we will all cheer like you did for South Africa. I'm sure you won't begrudge that given that most of the comments made in the last SA series were made by gloating Australians.

  • pauln2 on August 22, 2012, 6:39 GMT

    I think Clarke has the potential to be a very good skipper - you can't fault his own performance with the bat, and I like the imagination he shows in the field - but he does need some of the guys around him to get up to speed. We saw what a lot of hard work did for his pace attack last summer, but the top batting was too hit-or-miss for international cricket. None of the younger players have yet cemented a spot, although you think one or two could do it soon. From what I have seen of Australian cricket in recent seasons, there's not too much bubbling under and that's something that just has to be dealt with. I agree with those who have noted it's a down-time in the cycle, but I also think Clarke might be the right man to spin the wheel upwards again.

  • Marcio on August 22, 2012, 5:34 GMT

    @Lankan_Pride1981, what alternative universe are you beaming in from? No results? Clarke just lost his first test/ODI series as captain after 18 months at the healm and a dozen series. During that period they beat SL in SL in both ODIs and tests. Or have you just forgotten that? All these doomsdayers! What a miserly bunch we have here! I woudn't worry too much about the ODI series against ENG. There were a whole host of negative factors which came together in one largely unimportant series. Clarke is a very, very good leader, and despite what the doomsdayrs like @ Victor Darryl say, there is plenty of talent going round. There is certainly a need for two soild batting places to be filled. But the bowling is just a season or two away from being exceptional. At home vs SA this summer AUS will be very hard to beat. PAK will be interesting though. Hard to predict.

  • Meety on August 22, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    @Victor Darrell - I totally disagree with you (mainly the WIndies analogy). The WIndies declined for 2 reasons; 1) The talent coming thru was not as good as the Legends they replaced, 2) The incoming talent did not posess the work ethic of the previous crew. During the Richards/Lloyd era, the WIndies were the best athletes in the game, I remember when Roger Harper first toured Oz, he was regarded as the best fielder in the world, a tour or so later to Oz, he was shelling catches left right & centre. So I would say (not being a West Indian cricketer, just a fan), that the WIndies CULTURE in the dressing room & even in domestic cricket was in decline. In the late 90s & early 2000s, Zimbabwe had a side that competed with the best teams. They were not much more talented man for man than the current team, however, they had a massive work ethic that meant they put 100% into their fielding (they were basically the best fielding team in the world), so I would argue their CULTURE was great!

  • Meety on August 22, 2012, 3:51 GMT

    @Wyrrawaul - I said after Oz lost the NZ test in Hobart, that whilst Clarke's team is nowhere near the Great Oz sides of the recent past, this team is much more watchable as one match we can be routed, the next match we chase down a 300ish score batting last against a line up that pretty much unchanged went onto becoming the "Number 1" side in the world. We drop a test to NZ, then hammer the recently deposed #1 side in the world - India. I remember back during the Waugh years, some fans were bemoaning the lack of competition, I wasn't really one of them because I knew the wheel would turn eventually! @Lankan_Pride1981 - Wow! In one foul swoop, you've just about halved the quality of Sri Lankan comments on this site! Well done, now go watch BASEBALL!

  • tinkertinker on August 22, 2012, 3:25 GMT

    This all seems like clarke code for i want my mates haddin and mitch back in the team cause they are such good blokes, never mind their poor play they are great blokes in the dressing room.

  • on August 22, 2012, 3:15 GMT

    The series should be competitive but I don't think Pakistan has selected the best team. They have left out some young players who should have been given a chance in this tour. Anyway, good luck to both teams.

  • Lankan_Pride1981 on August 22, 2012, 2:40 GMT

    Whats with this guy? he is always make comment like these. before his fav line was : i want to make sure we are the hardest working team" with no results??????? Their T20 squad filled with 30+ year olds. they havent got good batsmen coming out. peter forrest, m wade all were dissapointing. shocking.

  • MinusZero on August 22, 2012, 2:32 GMT

    The Captain should not be a selector. That is the start of the problems and why extensive changes were never made. Its a mates club and a lot of players are selected on friendship not form. Mitchell Johnson is an example of this, he technically didnt get dropped, he got injured. They still need to look to the future. Hughes should be in the ODI and T20 team, his form in these formats is great.

  • RVC-38 on August 22, 2012, 2:15 GMT

    @Hammond and Mattyp1979 we look forward to the series against South Africa in Australia this summer as much as you do, but you will not hear any chest beating we are the champions rubbish before the first test, we will treat the reigning world champions in tests with the respect that they deserve, weather or not we can read your expert opinions on each days play will depend on how australia are doing each day. so i for one am hoping that its a great cricket series closley fought and entertaining, just like you 2 real cricket fans.

  • Wyrrawaul on August 22, 2012, 2:00 GMT

    I watched one of those classic one day matches during the lunch break - Aus v NZ. Hadlee and the Crowe brothers knocked us over for 70 runs. Those games, Aus always had you on the edge of your seat not knowing if you were going to win or be slaughtered - eciting stuff. Hope from Mr Clark's words he can whip these boys into shape just as Border did with his guys. This summer wil be a good test just to see where we are

  • on August 22, 2012, 1:45 GMT

    Memo to Michael Clarke: the talent is just not there right now and all the "culture" change and hard work in the world will not substitute for talent!! Australia has had its run and it was a great run. Now they have to rebuild and its not going to be easy. Ask (my) WI about that!! It was inevitable that Australia would fall down the rankings when the great players who made that run got old and had to retire. India had a nice little run that included the 2011 WC and they are in a rebuilding phase right now. Likewise England they won the T20 WC in 2009 and will be hard pressed to repeat. Now it looks like its South Africa's time to make a run. It will be interesting to see how long their run will last. WI and Pakistan have young teams and will be much better in 3 to 4 years time and will be challenging for the top spot at that time. So Oz get used to the idea that you will struggle for a few years before you can bounce back!! And it would not be like "old times" too much competition now

  • RodStark on August 22, 2012, 1:24 GMT

    I would be curious to know the total number of players who have represented Australia in all forms of the game over, say, the past three years.

  • Chris_P on August 22, 2012, 1:11 GMT

    @MattyP1979. First of all, our friend Randy never reads other posts, so addressing to him is a waste. Secondly, I consider myself fair minded, as are most Aussie posters, I think we all all disassociate myself from his comments as they basically lack substance. As far as replacing 38yo's. If they are amongst the best 6 performing batsmen, age has no relevance. Last season showed that they can still cut it. Are there any young players as good or near as good? Nope, not by a fair margin either. Bowlers, keepers we have top quality crop, but batsmen, we are way down. That said, we may not be good enough for top spot, but certainly can compete within the top 4. There was never a cavernous drop in the rankings, reflected by our performances. Just nowhere near the dizzy heights of the recent great teams.

  • gillysgone on August 22, 2012, 1:05 GMT

    About time the captain put a stake in the ground. Mind you, we are in a position where the first class batting options have not delivered on a regular basis. There are positions a plenty for those who have the ckill and the work ethic. so I say fire up you young blokes, the world of australioan cricket is your oyster. And for god's sake, get Watson into the middle order in the test team, thats the first step in sorting out the test side.

  • MattyP1979 on August 22, 2012, 1:03 GMT

    I don't doubt for a second the Aussies fighting spirit. They would sell their Grandmothers for a cold one. It is their abilty that might be found wanting. Pak dispite obvious political handcuffs are a pretty decent side ATM. I look forward to the series but would love a test series between these sides too. As for me and my multicultral town I am going to have to support Pak. Hope for a great series.

  • cricketfannik on August 22, 2012, 0:58 GMT

    Pakistan will win this as well and aus will go deep down the ranking table shameful for australia for the standards they set in last 10years this has been not been even a worst performance by them worst has to come when they gonna be white washed in their own backyard losing by an inngs twice to SA. Australia just only knows to throw their capable players out and try try try til they reach in good position but this time its been long 4 years they are struggling atleast when poting was captain aus was good not in test but ODIs atleast. Ponting should be called back if aus needs their most skillful player in the side.when there will be replacement ponting can go but atm its bad forrest , bailey shaun marsh all are pathetic only clarke watson hussy bro are good so why wasting ponting when he is available it would be good for team as well as he will pass on some good exp and knowledge to youth in the dressing room. since he has left aus struglling in odi even cant win against poor WI disg

  • Marcio on August 22, 2012, 0:22 GMT

    @Hammond, I expect AUS to do well against SA, continuing their predominantly very good results in the last 18 months (including against SA). The whirlwind tour of ENG was an aberration, two weeks of drizzling rain in the AUS off-season that should never have been scheduled. BTW, the absence of your own comments after the loss to SA is all you need to reflect on. Is it any wonder there are so many negative comments about England posted on the articles about the SA series loss, when so many English supporters are just so negative towards other teams? The AUS-SA series is months away, and you are already starting.

  • couchpundit on August 22, 2012, 0:19 GMT

    Keep the guys who want to sing team song after a match out of national team. Thats the culture you have started Mr.Clarke. Keep it up

  • Meety on August 22, 2012, 0:11 GMT

    @MattyP1979 - I think that Pommy inferiority complex is coming out again! LOL! Most fair minded Ozzy supporters, have mainly said that they expect the Saffas to win, not that they "support" the Saffas. As in Oz historically we go for the underdogs, I have enjoyed the Saffas knocking off the "number 1" ranked side in the world, the fact that it was England is in most (& for me) cases incidental. The respect for the Saffa team (that Ozzys have) is from nearly 20yrs of tough battles, that even though Oz has won a majority of, they were mainly matches at the pinnacle of Test cricket through the mid 90s to early 2000s. Even today it has me stumped how the Poms won the Ashes in 2005, yet the Saffas couldn't beat us until 08! The fact that we bag Poms, is a 200+ year tradition, because you lot don't bath enuff! Also since it is a rare occurance that you are holding the Ashes, bagging you lot for the rash of imports is an easy target. As for coming on this site - you (& others) already do!!!!

  • on August 21, 2012, 23:36 GMT

    Presumably then this means we've heard the last comments from players about how well the boys are performing in the nets...

  • Wozza-CY on August 21, 2012, 23:21 GMT

    You are 100% correct Mr.Clarke, actions do speak louder than words.....I look forward to seeing yours in the next few series. I echo other bloggers sentiments on team songs, breakfasts before games & twatting out all your dirty laundry on the world wide web. I hope we see an end to these 'smile-a-thons' during the game, particularly when we're getting our backside whipped.....it's not funny.

  • chicko1983 on August 21, 2012, 22:43 GMT

    so when we defeat the saffers this summer in tests, we will be no. 1 right? Gee wizz, world cricket is still catching up to Australia. We have been in our worst period of cricket in the last 20 years and are about to play a test series for no. 1. Haha @ MattyP1079: those "2 guys" are better than any players SA have produced since coming back to test cricket. Australia 1-1 in SA, but it will be 3-0 at home.

  • nulla on August 21, 2012, 22:00 GMT

    Wonder if this new culture includes singing the team song & not appearing at breakfasts on the morning of the game.

  • popcorn on August 21, 2012, 21:35 GMT

    We CANNOT CONTINUE to be a Work in Progress of a Team in the making. Consistency is lacking.Enough of Permutations and Combinations.We seem to be dependent ONLY on a few.The Rest of the bunch just turn up on the field. ENOUGH opportunities have been given to the new guys, and NONE is a Stand -Out Performer. Shape up,or Ship Out.This Series will show how good we are.

  • Hammond on August 21, 2012, 21:11 GMT

    @MattyP1979- I agree mate, so many Australian South African supporters- might be an idea to flood the Australian v South African pages with gloating and ridiculous anti-Australian comments during the fearful hammering Australia is about to receive. I wonder how many fair-weather Australian fans will bother to post then?

  • on August 21, 2012, 20:51 GMT

    Thanks to Indian supporter up here who said 6-0 Inshallah Pakistan is a capable side lets hope they apply their planning well... I hope Anwar Ali, Raza hassan n couple of good young batsman can make a name for themselves in this series...PLAY WELL GREEN SHIRTS.....

  • smudgeon on August 21, 2012, 20:39 GMT

    Agreed, Sandstorm82...there used to be a lengthy lead-in period to allow new players to develop and find their feet, but in recent years it seems selectors have been a little too casual towards new players. Mind you, when you have those years between 1994 and 2007 where you have a very strong side with a lot of depth, you get used to the idea that you have the depth to carry a new kid for a dozen or so games until they find their feet - or even ignore highly regarded domestic players. I guess when our batting has seemed to brittle in recent years, the tendency is to lean heavily on Ponting, Hussey and Clarke, and try band-aid solutions to the rest. I think this thinking has changed since Argus, though...we should see good results in 3-4 years, I hope...

  • on August 21, 2012, 19:57 GMT

    Who cares about England, soon other sides will be gunning for the no.1 ranking. This could be an open race with a lot of twists and turns. Australia are not the best, England are not the best, SA are not the best, SL are not the best, IND are not the best, PAK are not the best. These 5 sides are playing an open horse race. WI are just below these teams with NZ, BAN and ZIM the bottom 3. Australia are no.1 by losing 4-0, yeah riight, SA are the best, now but are they the best when they can't beat Australia.

  • MattyP1979 on August 21, 2012, 18:55 GMT

    As all Aussies are seemingly devout SA supporters I can only Cmon Pak Inshallah.

  • MattyP1979 on August 21, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    Randyoz lol. No depth. The guy who you said would get blown away scores 95 and a 50. Our replacement bowler gets 8 wickets in the match. As for SA being in your way you are right. Lets see how your 'mighty' batting line up fairs against SA lol. As for your seemingly never ending stream of replacements (Beer, Warner,Smith, Kawaaajajjja, Hughes, Cowan, all the WK the list goes on and on) the less said the better. Depth?????You guys cannot replace 2 guys who are 38 years old!!!!!

  • on August 21, 2012, 17:28 GMT

    Australia picked the wrong team for the last ODI series. How anyone can think Peter Forrest is a better choice than Ricky Ponting at number 3 is beyong me. Get the batting order right, get ur most talented proliferative batsman up at number 3 now that Pontings gone, get David Hussey further up the order because he keeps being wasted and left with the tail. Get Mike Hussey back in the side to bat 5. Callum Ferguson has to be given a chance again. Mitchell Johnson also needs to take the new ball and rediscover his wicket taking ability. James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins to support them.

  • Nadeem1976 on August 21, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    For heaven sake, Pakistan beat Australia. It's always fun to beat australia because they are aussies. Let's beat them this time around. I want Pakistan to just win over Australia as we won over England. Wo ho.

  • perl57 on August 21, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    Now that England has been shown the door and the boot, now it will be Australia turn. Its hard to see how they can win outside Australia. Let us see if they can conquer the Pakistani Battle first.

  • tanstell87 on August 21, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    wish Pakistan can beat Clarke's team 6-0...good luck from India

  • RandyOZ on August 21, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    Australia is on the way up, and with England on a slide straight down the rankings due to zero depth, South Africa are the only ones in our way.

  • Sandstorm82 on August 21, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    It does appear in recent times that Aussie management seems to want to change players quickly without an extended run in the team. The sort of stuff the sub continental teams are known for. That said, I like his attitude and work ethos and the young'uns could learn a lot from him. Good luck Aus! But Pakistan should win this series

  • Sinhaya on August 21, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    Interesting to see how Aussies cope with spin here.

  • zenboomerang on August 21, 2012, 12:07 GMT

    @Michael Clarke :- "preparation and hard work are the only two answers for me to be representing Australia"... The problem for Clarke is that the Oz public expect consistent form & results from all team members including himself out in the middle... Funny how many bag Bailey who aver @37.25+ in the recent ODI v Eng series while Clarke aver @28.75 with a poorer s.r.... Clarke, haven't you learnt to stay back & sing the Oz team song after a victory yet?... Team doesn't have an "I" in it, if you don't know...

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 21, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    Ponting's class, aura, captaincy, ethics etc. etc. were nothing short of immaculate during Australia's dominance in world cricket. I missed a lot of the hype during the whole Argus review saga, so if I were to go back and read through the articles, would I find a genuine explanation as to why he's so disrespected now? I know teams must move on, and Clarke has been left with a rather youthful, varying squad, but why this snub attitude to the past legends?

  • on August 21, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    Team culture eh Mr Clarke, does this include seeing your girlfriend/wife whilst the team sings the team song. How one can go from the largest perpetrator to the preacher amuses me, if it wasn't for your team ethic Simon Katich would have made many more hundreds for Australia.

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  • on August 21, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    Team culture eh Mr Clarke, does this include seeing your girlfriend/wife whilst the team sings the team song. How one can go from the largest perpetrator to the preacher amuses me, if it wasn't for your team ethic Simon Katich would have made many more hundreds for Australia.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 21, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    Ponting's class, aura, captaincy, ethics etc. etc. were nothing short of immaculate during Australia's dominance in world cricket. I missed a lot of the hype during the whole Argus review saga, so if I were to go back and read through the articles, would I find a genuine explanation as to why he's so disrespected now? I know teams must move on, and Clarke has been left with a rather youthful, varying squad, but why this snub attitude to the past legends?

  • zenboomerang on August 21, 2012, 12:07 GMT

    @Michael Clarke :- "preparation and hard work are the only two answers for me to be representing Australia"... The problem for Clarke is that the Oz public expect consistent form & results from all team members including himself out in the middle... Funny how many bag Bailey who aver @37.25+ in the recent ODI v Eng series while Clarke aver @28.75 with a poorer s.r.... Clarke, haven't you learnt to stay back & sing the Oz team song after a victory yet?... Team doesn't have an "I" in it, if you don't know...

  • Sinhaya on August 21, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    Interesting to see how Aussies cope with spin here.

  • Sandstorm82 on August 21, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    It does appear in recent times that Aussie management seems to want to change players quickly without an extended run in the team. The sort of stuff the sub continental teams are known for. That said, I like his attitude and work ethos and the young'uns could learn a lot from him. Good luck Aus! But Pakistan should win this series

  • RandyOZ on August 21, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    Australia is on the way up, and with England on a slide straight down the rankings due to zero depth, South Africa are the only ones in our way.

  • tanstell87 on August 21, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    wish Pakistan can beat Clarke's team 6-0...good luck from India

  • perl57 on August 21, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    Now that England has been shown the door and the boot, now it will be Australia turn. Its hard to see how they can win outside Australia. Let us see if they can conquer the Pakistani Battle first.

  • Nadeem1976 on August 21, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    For heaven sake, Pakistan beat Australia. It's always fun to beat australia because they are aussies. Let's beat them this time around. I want Pakistan to just win over Australia as we won over England. Wo ho.

  • on August 21, 2012, 17:28 GMT

    Australia picked the wrong team for the last ODI series. How anyone can think Peter Forrest is a better choice than Ricky Ponting at number 3 is beyong me. Get the batting order right, get ur most talented proliferative batsman up at number 3 now that Pontings gone, get David Hussey further up the order because he keeps being wasted and left with the tail. Get Mike Hussey back in the side to bat 5. Callum Ferguson has to be given a chance again. Mitchell Johnson also needs to take the new ball and rediscover his wicket taking ability. James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins to support them.