White hopes Sydney crowd gets behind Clarke
Cameron White hopes there will be no repeat of the booing which greeted Michael Clarke's entry to the crease in Brisbane as the Australia stand-in captain continues his battle for form. Clarke responded with 54 at the Gabba, by which time the crowd were showing support and they cheered again when Australia wrapped up the series.
Clarke has had a difficult summer with his popularity slumping along with his batting results and his fifty on Sunday was just his third for the international season. He has also been leading the side in Ricky Ponting's absence and his team-mates want to see a better public reaction from his home crowd in Sydney.
"It was a little disappointing from our point of view," White said. "It was also interesting to see them cheer him off after he got a few runs as well. Michael is a very important player for the team and it's great to see him back in a bit of form. I'd be very surprised if he got that sort of reaction again, let's hope not. It's his home crowd and the series is won so hopefully the fans get behind him here."
Clarke, however, accepted why he was given a tough reception from the supporters in Brisbane. "Obviously you'd like people to be cheering but I can understand why a few of them were booing," Clarke said after the victory. "I haven't performed as well as I'd like, so I don't blame the public for being disappointed with my performances."
White, the vice-captain for the one-day series, has been impressed with Clarke's leadership during these games. It has helped that, unlike Ponting in the Tests, he's had a number of wicket-taking options available to him in the form of Brett Lee and Doug Bollinger, but he has used the resources well and also shown faith in some of the younger players like John Hastings and Steve Smith.
"I've always been impressed with Michael's captaincy," White said. "I've enjoyed playing under him and he's a very good tactician on the field. Clearly he's done a good job in this series and every game he's captained for Australia."
England are happy to see the opposition captain struggle, but know that it won't take much for Clarke to regain the confidence of the home support. "It's tough for him, but all you can do as a cricketer is go out and score runs," Luke Wright said. "Hats off to him, he came out and played a good innings.
"I'm sure in the next game everyone will be cheering, but that's international sport. You go out in front of a crowd and are judged on performances alone. The only way you can answer that was by doing what he did."
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo