The Ashes 2013-14 November 8, 2013

Warne critical of Clarke's off-field role

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Australia's captain Michael Clarke must improve as a leader off the field and redouble his efforts to create a happier team environment during the forthcoming Ashes series, Shane Warne has said. In a significant departure from usually glowing support of his "best friend", Warne has conceded the national team lapsed into an insular mode that recalled the doomed England teams of the 1990s under Clarke's leadership, before improving later in the previous Ashes encounter.

Warne made his critique of Clarke in a column for the Telegraph that also suggested England's captain Alastair Cook should be replaced by Kevin Pietersen or Graeme Swann if the tourists are to seriously challenge for the position of undisputed world No. 1. The floating of such a concept was not surprising considering Warne's earlier attack on Cook in an interview with English media, but his words about Clarke were more telling.

Clarke and Warne have had a close relationship ever since the younger man's early days in the Australian Test team. Always Clarke's strongest defender, Warne has very seldom offered any criticism of a cricketer he has mentored, most recently attacking Ricky Ponting for his quite balanced and detailed observations of Clarke in his autobiography. So his admission that Clarke must be more focused on the welfare of his team is notable.

"Clarke has Cook covered on tactics but where he must improve is in creating a happier team environment," Warne wrote. "The Australian team were noticeably happier at the end of the English summer and, as Clarke and Lehmann's partnership started to take hold, Australia played better. If we look back over the years to when England lost eight Ashes series in a row there were a lot of people in their side playing for themselves and their own positions. It was a selfish environment. This is what Clarke has to avoid at all costs.

"If you look at the last three Tests in the Ashes, and the recent one-day series in India, there were a lot more Australian players smiling and in form. It looks a happier team than during the ICC Champions Trophy in June and the first couple of Test matches in England but the work has to continue. To me Australia have to improve in more areas than England if they are to regain the Ashes. But if England want to be the best Test side in the world, then Cook has to be more aggressive and proactive."

While he pushed the point about Cook's lack of tactical flair and aggression, Warne said that he had been more critical of Clarke in private conversations between the pair than anything he had previously said publicly. He also offered the view that Australia's results over the years had reflected the standard of the captains who commanded the teams.

"This week I have been critical of Cook as a captain, maybe a bit harshly, as he has a great record," Warne wrote. "For your information, I am not paid by Cricket Australia and have no official role with them. Sure, Clarke is one of my best friends but ask him and he will tell you I am one of his harshest critics. I honestly believe that Cook has to improve tactically if England are to become the No. 1 team in the world again and I do not think too many people would disagree with me.

"I am also speaking from the experience of playing under some great captains - and some who were not so great. If you look at the leaders Australia had when we did well and when we struggled, it generally reflected the standard of the captains. If I had to choose a captain out of the England side it would be Kevin Pietersen or Graeme Swann. That may sound like an unbelievable thing to say after all the controversy of last year but I think KP has the best cricket brain in the team.

"Graeme Swann is good too, as we have seen from his Twenty20 captaincy of England. They are both imaginative, good readers of the game and take the aggressive option first, whereas Cook retreats too quickly. He goes very defensive when he should be stamping his authority on the match."

Warne has often said that Allan Border and Mark Taylor were the best two captains he played under, while being far more critical of Ponting and Steve Waugh. Border's record was poor for many years as the national team regenerated under his guidance, before Taylor took over and lifted the team to No. 1 in the world. Waugh and Ponting carried on the era of success, and both finished with better overall records than either Border or Taylor.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • itsme250 on November 9, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    We all love to be critical of warnie, he gives us so much ammunition! But putting aside his comments on Cook, I think he is correct in his summary of recent Aussie captains. Border was my childhood hero but it took him a long time to be agood captain. He was a reluctant leader of a weak team constantly placed against the greatest side of all time (the Windies of the early 80's). But he was a firm and loyal leader of men. If you fought for AB he would fight for you. Taylor was anatural leader off and on the field, tactically astute and prepared to lose in the pursuit of victory. These two buikt the platform of the aussie teams for the next 10 yrs. Waugh brought the modern notion of blitzkrieg batting to cricket but was a very cautious captain and ground the oppsition down rather than outthinking them. Ponting had to captain the start of the decline and whislt he was a good off field leader he was never a brave or imaginative on field captain.

  • on November 9, 2013, 20:52 GMT

    Shane Warne, while a great cricketer, is a simple man. To him, a great captain is an aggressive one that tries to dominate the opposition at every turn. This is fine if you have a team of such brilliant cricketers such as the 1995-2005 Australian ones - but then you should win whatever opposition you face or how you go about it. The trick is to win when you don't have the batsmen and bowlers to blow the opposition out of the water, something Cook is excellent at. To judge by Australian opinion, Australia had the better batsmen and bowlers last summer, yet Cook and England won 3 - 0, comfortably, and dear old Warney does not understand why.

  • the_silent_observer on November 9, 2013, 15:17 GMT

    "Waugh and Ponting carried on the era of success, and both finished with better overall records than either Border or Taylor" - Daniel has summed it up nicely, though he should have added (maybe, as an after-thought!) "or Warne would ever have had!" Notwithstanding Warne's genius with bowling and occasional exploits as a die-hard batsman, he could not have been a good captain, let alone a great one! Chinks in his armour, on every plank, had been just too many. Even his success in the inaugural IPL was not sustained in the next 3 seasons, leading one to believe that it was more due to the 'unknown factor' present in any first-time event (like India's 2007 T20WC). One only wishes that his brilliance of the on-field performance in preserved, by just keeping quiet, instead of offering comments that lack consistency!

  • The_Wolvarun on November 9, 2013, 4:53 GMT

    Yes, Warne makes a very good point as Cook captaincy has been predominately defensive, but what Warne fails to understand is that he has played for AUSTRALIA under AUSTRALIAN captains; it is in their style to be aggressive. Whereas from an english perspective, they have never been the side that Australia was and it is in the english nature to be defence...

  • CricketChat on November 9, 2013, 2:24 GMT

    Warne knows a thing or two about keeping himself in the limelight long after his days in the spotlight were over. He shouldn't be spilling beans on his former colleagues. This might come to haunt him later on.

  • SugarFoot on November 9, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    @popcorn - Shane Warne's autobiography has been in circulation for many years. You might want to check facts before unleashing a comical rant. You are asking for him to reveal his "Murkier Side" - that's silly. Only housewives care about the gossip - we are here for the cricket, the community and respected opinions from one of the finest cricketers of ALL time.

  • gop_cricket on November 8, 2013, 23:56 GMT

    Shane's opinion does not hold any good. He may be a great cricket of past but he has completely misjudged Cook.Cook is truly thinking cricketer and a good leader, he is the one who lead England to victory in India, where many great cricketers failed in recent past. He has truly a great team at his disposal who can raise to the situations on cricket field. Remember Shane you are me or to that matter anybody in this world are not best judges of sports men or any man. It is their record and stats that speak of them. How can you say a person who as good a record as Cook is tactically a nonsense captain. That shows your arrogance and immaturity. You are a great cricketer but not a great captain and cricket Australia never opted you as captain coz they know you would have never made a better captain. They were better judges at your time. Sorry to say all this though I'm a great fan of you. I loved your every ball when you were on duty but you went utterly wrong in your judgements mate.

  • on November 8, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    Yep I can see eng changing to be like clarke Tale of the tape clarke - played 29 won 12 lost 10 drawn 7 Series won 4, series drawn 2 series lost 3 Cook - played 16 won 9 drawn 6 lost 1 Series won 4 drawn 1 lost 0

    Do try harder warnie

  • on November 8, 2013, 21:16 GMT

    At the MCG yesterday to watch NSW vs Victoria (Best $5.00 that I have spent in my life).

    With NSW leading by over 100-runs in the 1st Innings there was bearly a whisper or clap coming from NSW in the field. There was more noise coming from one bloke in the stands than the entire NSW Team.

    You have to wonder what inspiration would be needed to lift the voices of the NSW Team when you have the Australian Captain on the field?? Looking back, they were a lot more vocal in the Ryobi Cup without Clarke on the field??

    Maybe they sought some internal solace after some uninspiring field placements saw a few balls fly through an less than aggressive slips area which bought a few jeers from the crowd.

  • Chad950 on November 8, 2013, 20:39 GMT

    The subtext from Warne is that he thinks he would have been sooo much more of a better captain than anyone else.

  • itsme250 on November 9, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    We all love to be critical of warnie, he gives us so much ammunition! But putting aside his comments on Cook, I think he is correct in his summary of recent Aussie captains. Border was my childhood hero but it took him a long time to be agood captain. He was a reluctant leader of a weak team constantly placed against the greatest side of all time (the Windies of the early 80's). But he was a firm and loyal leader of men. If you fought for AB he would fight for you. Taylor was anatural leader off and on the field, tactically astute and prepared to lose in the pursuit of victory. These two buikt the platform of the aussie teams for the next 10 yrs. Waugh brought the modern notion of blitzkrieg batting to cricket but was a very cautious captain and ground the oppsition down rather than outthinking them. Ponting had to captain the start of the decline and whislt he was a good off field leader he was never a brave or imaginative on field captain.

  • on November 9, 2013, 20:52 GMT

    Shane Warne, while a great cricketer, is a simple man. To him, a great captain is an aggressive one that tries to dominate the opposition at every turn. This is fine if you have a team of such brilliant cricketers such as the 1995-2005 Australian ones - but then you should win whatever opposition you face or how you go about it. The trick is to win when you don't have the batsmen and bowlers to blow the opposition out of the water, something Cook is excellent at. To judge by Australian opinion, Australia had the better batsmen and bowlers last summer, yet Cook and England won 3 - 0, comfortably, and dear old Warney does not understand why.

  • the_silent_observer on November 9, 2013, 15:17 GMT

    "Waugh and Ponting carried on the era of success, and both finished with better overall records than either Border or Taylor" - Daniel has summed it up nicely, though he should have added (maybe, as an after-thought!) "or Warne would ever have had!" Notwithstanding Warne's genius with bowling and occasional exploits as a die-hard batsman, he could not have been a good captain, let alone a great one! Chinks in his armour, on every plank, had been just too many. Even his success in the inaugural IPL was not sustained in the next 3 seasons, leading one to believe that it was more due to the 'unknown factor' present in any first-time event (like India's 2007 T20WC). One only wishes that his brilliance of the on-field performance in preserved, by just keeping quiet, instead of offering comments that lack consistency!

  • The_Wolvarun on November 9, 2013, 4:53 GMT

    Yes, Warne makes a very good point as Cook captaincy has been predominately defensive, but what Warne fails to understand is that he has played for AUSTRALIA under AUSTRALIAN captains; it is in their style to be aggressive. Whereas from an english perspective, they have never been the side that Australia was and it is in the english nature to be defence...

  • CricketChat on November 9, 2013, 2:24 GMT

    Warne knows a thing or two about keeping himself in the limelight long after his days in the spotlight were over. He shouldn't be spilling beans on his former colleagues. This might come to haunt him later on.

  • SugarFoot on November 9, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    @popcorn - Shane Warne's autobiography has been in circulation for many years. You might want to check facts before unleashing a comical rant. You are asking for him to reveal his "Murkier Side" - that's silly. Only housewives care about the gossip - we are here for the cricket, the community and respected opinions from one of the finest cricketers of ALL time.

  • gop_cricket on November 8, 2013, 23:56 GMT

    Shane's opinion does not hold any good. He may be a great cricket of past but he has completely misjudged Cook.Cook is truly thinking cricketer and a good leader, he is the one who lead England to victory in India, where many great cricketers failed in recent past. He has truly a great team at his disposal who can raise to the situations on cricket field. Remember Shane you are me or to that matter anybody in this world are not best judges of sports men or any man. It is their record and stats that speak of them. How can you say a person who as good a record as Cook is tactically a nonsense captain. That shows your arrogance and immaturity. You are a great cricketer but not a great captain and cricket Australia never opted you as captain coz they know you would have never made a better captain. They were better judges at your time. Sorry to say all this though I'm a great fan of you. I loved your every ball when you were on duty but you went utterly wrong in your judgements mate.

  • on November 8, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    Yep I can see eng changing to be like clarke Tale of the tape clarke - played 29 won 12 lost 10 drawn 7 Series won 4, series drawn 2 series lost 3 Cook - played 16 won 9 drawn 6 lost 1 Series won 4 drawn 1 lost 0

    Do try harder warnie

  • on November 8, 2013, 21:16 GMT

    At the MCG yesterday to watch NSW vs Victoria (Best $5.00 that I have spent in my life).

    With NSW leading by over 100-runs in the 1st Innings there was bearly a whisper or clap coming from NSW in the field. There was more noise coming from one bloke in the stands than the entire NSW Team.

    You have to wonder what inspiration would be needed to lift the voices of the NSW Team when you have the Australian Captain on the field?? Looking back, they were a lot more vocal in the Ryobi Cup without Clarke on the field??

    Maybe they sought some internal solace after some uninspiring field placements saw a few balls fly through an less than aggressive slips area which bought a few jeers from the crowd.

  • Chad950 on November 8, 2013, 20:39 GMT

    The subtext from Warne is that he thinks he would have been sooo much more of a better captain than anyone else.

  • 6pack on November 8, 2013, 19:28 GMT

    Just a bunch of baloney coming from Warne... Cook and England are well set, and will likely make a mockery of the Aussies, even though they themselves aren't the team they were when Strauss and Collingwood were around -as they offered more to their respective positions than the current choices at opener and no 6.

    Cook is a calm, thinking captain, who maybe lacks the brashness of other (not Clarke, who isn't all that aggressive anyway), but he is the man for the job.

  • thekaz on November 8, 2013, 16:37 GMT

    It's clear for all to see Warne is just trying to get into the England camps mind before the series begins. He's well aware that England are the better team by a distance and they need their ex players to help them even get a sniff of winning. His criticism of Cook is just laughable, Lost one test in 15 or something like that. I think he has the wrong criteria for a 'good captain' a good captain doesn't just set funky field placings and attack all the team, a good captain must be a leader of men first. Something which Cool clearly is, as he immediately re-intergrated KP as soon as he was handed the captaincy, and something that Clarke clearly isn't given extracts from Hussey and Ponting's books. I fear for Australia here, England won 3-0 in England and I recon we were playing at around 60% of our capability. RIP Australia, 4 ashes wins in a row.

  • JG2704 on November 8, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    @Bryan Anglim on (November 8, 2013, 14:41 GMT) Warne has the right to talk about anything he wants. If you've had to play the game at the highest level to talk about it then these threads/discussions wouldn't exist

  • JG2704 on November 8, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    @ScottStevo CTD PS re the Bell/Broad partnership - what exactly is your point here?

    My point in mentioning the Agar inns etc is in response to Mitty's (if it wasn't for..) - ie it works both ways. I've never said anywhere that Aus weren't on top around that time etc.and yes for Eng to build a near 300 target from that position was unlikely. However I wouldn't put it in the same category as the Agar inns as Broad has scored a ton and several 50s WHEN Eng have been in trouble

  • JG2704 on November 8, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    @ScottStevo on (November 8, 2013, 14:09 GMT) - I figured that at the start of the Aus 2nd inns , in that test Eng would have been favourites based on facts and figures. I can't remember if it was a case of a 300 score (in tests)never being chased down when batting last on that ground or only being chased down once before. Being that Aus don't have thee best batting line up (you yourself said that their batting was weak) I think it's a fair enough call to say that Eng would have been favourites to defend a near 300 target on such a pitch - no?

    Re Agar - ok he may be better than a number 11 but honestly could anyone in the real world have predicted that he would come in at number 11 with Aus 117-9 and score 98 on his debut. It was at best an unlikely occurance and I don't think I'm being too OTT calling it a freak innings.

  • on November 8, 2013, 15:05 GMT

    Keep commenting folks and he'll think you care, best thing to do is ignore him and he'll go away, he's had his time.

  • milepost on November 8, 2013, 15:00 GMT

    "Clarke is a terrible captain" - the wise one strikes again. How many false statements do we have to suffer? Clarke might have a reputation as a a bad manager of men but he's no slouch otherwise as a captain. How hard can it be anyway?

  • on November 8, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    Shane Warne is going out to bat for Michael Clarke. Warne's comments are a throwback to the tactics of the successful Aussie teams from 1995 to 2007 - mental disintegration.

    Steve Waugh did that very well, as did Shane Warne. And Warne is still continuing it. Cook would do well not to buy into Warne's nonsense, because all this babble speaks of desperation, desperation to get into the mind of Cook. Since Clarke isn't able to talk the talk, he's paying his best buddy Warne to talk the talk.

    KP or Swann should be England captain? Like seriously? Lol, along with being given the honour of being one of the "5 cricketers of the century", Warne should also be given an award for being one of the "5 biggest jokes of the century". :-p

  • Batmanian on November 8, 2013, 14:50 GMT

    To be fair, Clarke's not really a leader in the people-person sense. I would recommend a division of leadership labour.

    This worked very much in the Waugh and Ponting captaincies; Waugh was a great leader in his application to the game and very good at providing the Borderesque gruffness on and off field.

    But you could see Warne, later with Gilchrist, were setting the fields and providing the tactical tweaks - trying to win every game was an attitude installed by Mark Taylor, who was an aggressive captain but not a leader as a batsman like Waugh was down the order.

    Ponting was the best Australian batsman since Bradman - that was his claim to fame. Team talent dried up on him somewhat, the selectors and coaches didn't adjust and other countries improved. But Warne and Gilchrist - sparring through they did - looked after the tactics.

    Tactically, Clarke's great. Batting, almost as good as Ponting. But he needs a people guy - Bailey, who doubles as wise counsel?

  • PutMarshyOn on November 8, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    Too much is made of the importance of captaincy. If your team is better than the other guys you will win more often than not even if the skipper bowls at both ends, keeps, and opens the batting. If, like Australia, you have gone through an extended period where you aren't winning then there will be high personnel turn-over and an unsettled dressing room no matter what the captain does.

    Australia's recent problems in Test Cricket are down purely to a dearth of test quality batters. Hardly surprising when the Sheffield Shield is mutilated to accommodate the ACB pension investment scheme, aka BBL. Tubby,AB,Benaud & Bradman combined would be hard pressed to do make any headway in these circumstances.

  • on November 8, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    Warne has the right to talk about spin bowling - YES Warne has the right to talk about playing test cricket - YES Warne has the right to talk about playing other forms of cricket - YES Warne has the right to talk about captaining at a lower level (IPL etc) - YES

    Warne has the right to talk about being a test captain - NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

    Leave that to those who have done the job. Just like if I was lecturing a guy on spin bowling, flying into space or handling the media - it is just your place to comment on something you have never managed to accomplish.

  • on November 8, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    Cont'd. A good leader must be able to stand upto senior management for what he belives. My guess is that Pointing did that and Clarke cannot. Clarke is uncertain of his management skills as well as that of a leader and only wants to be a "yes man" to CA. The other issue is that there are too many conductors in this orchestra. Batting coach, bowling coach,fielding coach,manager, psychologist etc. and who know what is the message everyone is giving to each player he interacts with. Are the singing from the same sheet? My guess is no, and this is where the dissatisfaction form players come from. Batting coach wants this, but capitan wants that and CA wants the other....

  • ScottStevo on November 8, 2013, 14:09 GMT

    @JG2704, How do you figure that Eng would have been favourites to win prior to Aus second innings in that test? It wasn't a freak innings either. I think it was very clear that young Agar isn't a number 11 bat. Also, when Broad came to the crease Eng were 6-218 minus the first innings defecit. His runs, albeit controversial, and partnership with Bell were the reason Aus had to chase anywhere near 300, given the ground, etc.

  • on November 8, 2013, 13:57 GMT

    @ Warne and CA executive management team: This is a subject that needs examination. Clarke's leaderhipskills is a reflection of several issues. First, he is responding to the needs of CA request for performance. The fact that his team is not producing, causes him to lead with the stick. There is no room for the carrot. Second lCarke is caugt in a difficult position of having to support his troups and be an advocate of CA. Difficult thing to do when you have a team that is continously fearful of their place in the team. Especially when management uses a heavy hand. Fear is the biggest obstacle in experiencing ones fullest potential. There must be an independent body that is employed to examine the internal culture of the team its management practices and overall message. My guess is that most of the top management have never had any formal training in leadership, nor organazational behavior. get ride of the philosophy that "if you dont like it you can leave..."

  • on November 8, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    After much consideration, my thoughts about Warnie's comments are -"Yaaaawwwwnnn"

  • JG2704 on November 8, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    For those saying that it's mind games being played - I genuinely can't but into that. England will do their own thing regardless of any outsider's opinion.

    I think Warne genuinely doesn't think everything through properly before he gives his opinions

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on November 8, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    Clarke is a terrible captain, granted, and an even worse man manager, yes, but he has no answer to Warne's flurry of spears. We might as well say what Shane is unable to bring himself to say - If Australia lose the next Ashes, Clarke will be sacked as captain. How many Ashes tests can one captain hope to lose? Clarke seems intent on breaking the record.

  • JG2704 on November 8, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    @Mitty - We could all say about "The Only Reason...."

    In the 1st test was it not a freak inns from your number 11 which turned a huge deficit into a 1st inns advantage and in the very same test (which became close) was it not a final wicket partnership which got them anywhere near Eng's total? Just if we're talking about "If it wasn't for the tail..." Yes Aus were on top in the 2nd inns before the Broad spell but before the start of the Aus 2nd inns Eng would have been favourites , given the ground etc

  • JG2704 on November 8, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    @millsy24 - - Obviously you're right in that no one knows what Clarke is like in the dressing room so we all have to judge him and Cook by what we read. We've heard stories of Clarke falling out with certain players and I personally (despite often praising him as an onfield captain) did not like homework gate on the India tour. I'd have liked the suggestion box idea if it was purely voluntary but for me to force players to say things which could actually lead to team disharmony was wrong. However that was under Arthur so maybe that was as much/more Arthur? Also you do read about him having conflicts with fellow players

    Compare that with Cook who brought KP back into a happy dressing room environment when all looked lost and I don't think I've heard of any of his fellow players having any issues with him

  • JG2704 on November 8, 2013, 12:31 GMT

    Actually think Warne has some valid points here. The problem is that he offers so many different opinions that he ends up contradicting himself. In the above article it says that he attacks RP for his balanced criticisms on Clarke. Now I don't tnow what RP said about MC but if these were balanced criticisms then isn't Warne doing exactly the same (certainly no better here)? Also he is critical of Clarke's man management (unhappy dressing room) but also says that Cook should be replaced by KP or Swann. Err Hello Mr Warne ! Was it not (regardless of whose fault it was) KP and Swann who were 2 of the characters in the centre of the Eng dressing room divide? Also both are towards the end of their careers so it would be a pretty short term plan wouldn't it? Also I think the on field captaincy comes from above so either there has to be a change there or a change of thinking there for the onfield tactics to change - whoever is in charge of England

  • Rahul_78 on November 8, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    Well, Seems like Clarke and his best bud Warnie will let no stone unturned to regain Ashes. Brace yourself as the mind games have begun. Cook has already accepted that it effects his blood pressure a bit. It has been the good old Aussie philosophy to go for the head of the serpent. Cook is imperious to Englands chances as a batsmen and as a skipper. By publicly criticizing him and his captaincy style Warne has been sizing him up. Comparing him against KP who is another Warne buddy and infant terrible of England Warnie is trying to open old wounds occurred under Strauss. Make no bones this will be much bigger and harsher examination of Poms in recent times. They are in Aussie outbacks. No favors will be granted and not a inch will be given.

  • on November 8, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    sure back off warne ,you wernt good enough to capt australia you sent a bad example to the rest of the team you have to have it all and you didnt ,best examples are richie benaud and ian chappel.

  • Blokker on November 8, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    Can Shane Warne just shut up until the Ashes are over please?

  • austentayshus on November 8, 2013, 11:39 GMT

    Get tubbs or tugga as batting coach and mcgrath and dizzy to work with bowling sorted

  • on November 8, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    shane warne and Ian chapel are trying to perpetuate their importance by way of loose and sensational talks.

  • cloudmess on November 8, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    It's all just mind-games of one kind or another from the Warnster. He targets Cook - a man who has a very successful record - in the same way the WI quicks used to target the opposing captain. Undermine him, and the rest fall like dominoes etc etc

  • ReverseSweepIndia on November 8, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    I know this is completely off topic. But is it possible that if some of Aus fan go meet Faulkner? Say him millions of thanks from Indians. If not for THAT over, we still would have been playing Ishant in test against WI. I know you will say that winning against them is no big deal, but how many time you see an Indian fast (not tearaway fast of Patto, Johnson category but definitely not popgun which we had in abundance) bowler take 9 wicket in a match and that too on flat tracks (sic). Your 4-0 beating in Australia was the one of reason we do started rebuilding process in batting. And THAT over caused us biggest respite by getting rid of Ishant. Please convey Faulkner thanks from my country men. On topic, Warne is correct. Clark is probably best in tactics around the world at the moment but very poor in leadership.

  • ferngully on November 8, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    I wish the ashes would get here already so instead of reading about what Warne thinks daily, we could all watch root get "crucified," cook display "poor tactics" and England play a "dour" innings or two...

    ...on their way to another series win. If you want aggression and flair watch t20. If you want cricket, the real kind, watch Alistair Cook leave off stump for 6 hours

  • millsy24 on November 8, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    Optic, maybe so, but if Clarke had the team to captain that Cook has he would be called a genius. All these people who say he has no off field skills, how many of you actually know him or any of the rest of the team? I can say I know quite a few of them personally and I honestly have never heard them say a bad thing about Clarke at all. He has had the dignity to not respond to any of this stuff at all. If anything, I would suggest that maybe Clarke told Warne to shut up and back off Ponting as I do know for a fact that Clarke has a ton of respect for Ponting. Warne always thought he should have been captain instead of Ponting and he would have been if he knew how to behave himself. His problem and not anyone else's.

  • Alexk400 on November 8, 2013, 10:15 GMT

    Can some one shut warne. Best capatin are great leader first second is tactical and cricket brain. Good leader sheperd his team in tough times. To be a captain of aussie team is easy compare to captain other teams because generally aussie players play for team. India , pakistan players are selfish and stat obsessed because too much competition to get into team. Aussie as a whole wants to win every game at any cost. It is just that they have very very selfish bad leader captaining the team. Warne has good cricket brain but he is worst leader. he should not be advising anyone about captaincy when he never captained australia. he never got the job because people do not trust him and warne always irresponsible guy. He does possess intelligent cricket brain sure but he can not preach that unless he is a coach. But again he lacks leadership skill to even coach. Clarke should have been removed from captaincy long time ago , it seems like CA is run by ..jokers.

  • on November 8, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    go England beat them good

  • on November 8, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    The disappointment stems from the fact the Warne is one of the greatest cricketers of all time, and really could offer genuine insight should he so wish. Instead he prefers to indulge in rather childish trolling in the media. Swann himself in his autobiography criticised KP's handling of his bowlers.

    A period of silence from him would be most welcome.

  • on November 8, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    There is a saying "the less you speak, the more you are listend to". When Atherton and Gower say something, people take note, show respect, as their comments are well constructed. When Botham and Warne talk, its without thought, just slagging off. With Botham, there are too many inconsistenices too. Warne has a lot of bitterness about never captaining Australia, so he has a go at Waugh, Gilchrist and Ponting. He hated playing under them. As for Cook, I am not sure where this is coming from. Cook has lost just ONE Test as captain in 16 Tests and won NINE! So the issue is??? KP will never captain again, after all his antics!

  • syedtameem on November 8, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    Ponting has said the same thing in his autobiography in different words and warne has termed it as "jealousy" in an article of espncricinfo . No wonder Australia never had the inconsistent warne as captain

  • paulkate72 on November 8, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    I agree with Warne's comments about Alistair Cook being too conservative as captain. Australia has won many games when they weren't as good as the opposition by weight of their captain's aggressive field placings. They didn't let tailenders winkle lots of runs which would have made it hard for the Aussie team to chase. And Australian teams under their captain of the day have a never-say-die approach which is missing in so many opposing teams. On KP or Graeme Swann replacing Cook - not sure about that one.

  • JayPmorgan on November 8, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    The more he speaks the less credible his opinions become. Make Pietersen captain ? That is such a preposterous suggestion. The primary attributes of a captain is to be a leader of men , keep them harmonised and lead by example. for me tactics comes down the list. Imran Khan was a great captain but was not necessarily the best tactician in the team, that role went to Miandad who acted as his onfield council. When Miandad became captain, things were not as great. Similarly if Pietersen is such a great tactician then surely such advice can be given to the captain . Ultimately the problem with Warne is that he rates tactics as the key skill of a captain as this is the trump card he had as a player and is still bitter at being overlooked for the role of Australian Captain.

  • ferngully on November 8, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    In the age of 24 hour media saturation, every stroke, delivery, and comment made get blown up into something huge, regardless of what was done/said or who did/said it. With 2 ashes series in a matter of months, i'm preparing for the real deluge of articles/blogs/opinions in the coming weeks, which is sure to be monumental and tedious.

    If websites and journalists and news channels want to keep us interested (which they do) they'll keep going to warnie for quotes-- and fine by me! Here in the states every athlete is so image conscious and afraid of their own shadow, they'd NEVER dream of saying HALF the stuff that comes out of his mouth!

  • Mitty2 on November 8, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    @myself, meant to say selector and not captain.

    @optic, did you miss the "apart from broad's spell"...? And more importantly, the only reason you got near 300 was because of tail-end batting, and we were 150-1 in our chase of 300 and looking more than comfortable until Bresnan's wicket instigated a huge collapse. But sure you continue on your merry way of only commentating in retalliation, must be fun eh? In fact, the only time I've ever seen you not comment on someone else's comment was just then, on this board with your first comment. Maybe a sign of progression?

    And on your first comment the only time we had defensive fields, let alone "ultra" was against KP and Root who was batting with the lower order so it's normal to have a defensive field. Slow over rates? Is that a joke? Completely justified considering Eng's over rate in every single test - even Lord's. And please don't talk about defensive batting. I'm struggling to think once where we did. Compare the scoring rates mate.

  • Jagger on November 8, 2013, 7:15 GMT

    We Australians think Cook gave our below-par/ transition team too much respect at times, and to us that shows weakness.

    Note to Cook: When you've got the game won with the right bower still in your hand, what is the point of holding onto it? Lead from strength, let the big dog bark.

  • on November 8, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    Warne really seems to be getting under people's skin with some fairly harmless comments. Why all the upset? He's just offering his opinion as a recognised cricket legend and commentator. Some will disagree and some will not, what's the big deal here? There is no conspiracy theory, the idea that he's trying to influence the result of games is laughable. Warne has always liked to simply speak his mind and this is no different. He likes to talk and be heard, he prefers to not hold back when he has something to say that he thinks is insightful. The worst you could accuse him is of indulging his ego, and considering his status in the history of the game he has probably earned that right. People need to relax and simply see this for what it is: a guy with plenty of experience expressing his view of the game. He's not being polite or holding back and perhaps people think that's not quite PC. Warne was and never will be PC.

  • PrasPunter on November 8, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    Dont see any issue with Cook. That they played defensively is part of their game plan to ensure that the urn stayed with them. Am impressed with that version of Cook who led pretty well from the front in india. He played a very good role in having Eng move on after the KP-gate and even had KP perform phenomenally well since then. But hey, we want the urn back, rather desperately !!!

  • Simoc on November 8, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    There is nothing that compares to winning and Cook is winning. Smith from SA is the most conservative captain on the planet and SA are No 1. So its great to please the cricket folk with astute captaincy but its heaps better to have the best players and beat everyone regardless.

  • C.Gull on November 8, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    I came here to say exactly what B.J. Winzer had already said.

  • shan4065 on November 8, 2013, 5:39 GMT

    Warne is trying his level best to create a rift in the England side by projecting KP as a better Captain than Cook. This clearly shows he is very desperate for an Aussie win in the Ashes which would become easy with a Rift in the opposition team. If he is honest he should write in his column what were his criticism were on Clarke as he is doing in case of cook. Sure Double standards!!

  • on November 8, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    England need to beat South Africa and Pakistan to be the best in the world, not necessarily be more aggressive. Could be a very close Ashes series.

  • Optic on November 8, 2013, 4:57 GMT

    @Mitty2 I hate to pick you up on things Mitty but it's hard not to . How exactly did Aus have the run of play in the 4th test. 1st innings scores were 30 apart, then England scored 330 which left Aus a target of 299, which is a very hard chase anywhere in the world, let alone Chester Le Street. Aus got off to a decent start but nothing more before Broad, tore you a new one. Only an Aussie would think his side had the better of that test. It would be like saying England had the best of the 3rd test if it wasn't for Clarke's 180 odd.

    Lets be right Warne's only looking like he's offering a balanced opinion because he knows how ridiculously one eyed he's been about Clarke and England recently. He's all about swaying public opinion nowadays and this is all this is. All his antics have been nothing more than mind games, he really does believe his own hype because he thinks what he says has some effect on proceedings.

  • on November 8, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    Could the media please stop reporting about Shane Warne. I am sick of hearing his opinions which are designed to be controversial rather than insightful. Want to help cricket? Go coach Zimbabwe or Kenya or somewhere that could do with support from a marquee player.

  • Optic on November 8, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    The fact is and it's never been denied by Cook, is this is his first real crack at Captaining, although he was set up to replace Strauss sometime. ago It will be a constant learning curve for him just like it is for any Captain that takes over their national team, that includes the likes of even Mike Brearley. There are times he could be more pro active but then again there are times Clarke looks like he's just trying anything hoping it works. I've said it before but the myth that Clarke is a great Captain is just that, one that has mostly been bigged up by his best mate Warne. Everything that he's been critical of Cook, Clarke did exactly the same during the Ashes ie, ultra defensive fields, slow over rates, defensive batting etc. It's very easy to look pro active when you're losing, it's all you've really got but the fact is Clarke has had to be because he's been chasing the game most of the time. Cook's man management seems excellent and he knows how to get his team to perform.

  • Team_Cook on November 8, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    I recall Andy Flower saying in an interview that, there is much more to captaincy than setting funky fields. Sure Clarke sets up aggressive fields and so called innovative fields, in comparison to Cook. This doesn't mean that Clarke is a better captain than Cook, he would just be a better TACTICIAN than Cook.

    Cook was made full time ODI captain in 2011 and Full time test captain in 2012. I can recall a numerous times when the team have struggled and Cook has put his hand up and lead from the front. The most recent one being the tour of India, where he was just immense.

    When Cook was appointed full time captain, the first thing he did was to ensure that his star batsman, Kevin Pietersen was recalled to the team despite all the shenanigans in the summer of 2012. It is no doubt that Cook has the respect of the entire dressing room and the Fans too.

    Warnie can try as hard as he likes but it is pretty obvious that Cook is a fantastic leader of this team and he will only get better

  • smudgeon on November 8, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    So what Warne is saying is that between Clarke and Cook, you have one excellent captain at both sides of things?

  • Front-Foot-Lunge. on November 8, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    I love Warney, but his entire beef with Steve Waugh is that Steve was among a panel that dropped Warne for a test series in the West Indies when Warne was struggling.

    From that point Warne has made it his very obvious intention of slating or undermining Waugh at any juncture, be it with little snipes like this or via long-winded diatribes about how wearing a 'skull cap' to mark 100 years of test cricket wasn't necessary (when it was really just a nice gesture).

    For those who think he should keep keep quiet, understandable to a point, but he's either writing this in an article or responding to queries. He doesn't phone up the media and say 'here's what I think of X, Y and Z'.

    These various media vessels ask Warney these things for the fact that he is a legend of the game, speaks his mind and is also extremely well-known and respected as a player.

    Neither captain of this upcoming series is perfect, in fact none have ever been. Both need to address the items raised by Warne.

  • Shaggy076 on November 8, 2013, 3:37 GMT

    Im not sure if Warney knows what hypocrit means? He has a go at Ponting for what he wrote about Clarke then he is far more critical of Clarke than Ponting ever was.

  • heathrf1974 on November 8, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    Someone most likely got into Warne's ear. There are some people (not many) Warney likes more than himself.

  • on November 8, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    I believe in Cook, I reckon he could be the best English captain so far. I think he's not negative, just conservative and patient, his team won in India, and he scored a ton, sure Swann and Panesar are best english spinners of all time, but he is just a great captain. I think Clarke is a negative captain because he has a negative personality, and this rubs off on the team, no straight short mid-on can positivize this.

  • ShutTheGate on November 8, 2013, 3:23 GMT

    I don't know why Warne is becoming mister opinionated - is Chappelli planning on retiring from media?

    But I do think he is right about what he's quoted as saying about Clarke, Cook, KP and Swann.

    I have a suspicion that he might be slightly biased towards Waugh and Ponting as he saw himself as a candidate for those roles and I think he would have made a great captain if his off field antics didn't deprive him of an opportunity.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on November 8, 2013, 3:23 GMT

    Yes Cook is conservative in the field as a captain but he is more a team man than Clarke will ever be. As an Aussie I would take a captain like Cook any day over Clarke

  • Mitty2 on November 8, 2013, 3:18 GMT

    This is much better Warney. Completely correct apart from the outlandish suggestion of Cook being replaced which would seriously threaten the stability and confidence of the team. Why fix it if it ain't broke? No captain can get Eng to number 1 anyway, SA have superior bowlers and batsmen.

    "Clarke has Cook covered on tactics but where he must improve is in creating a happier team environment" - this is true. Why the appointment of Lehman was so crucial was to fix the cancerous system that had been developed by Arthur and Clarke. Clarke being a captain was the prime factor in making such a bad, 'selfish' environment and Arthur pushed this individual mentality. Watson certainly didn't help the environment - he generally doesn't help anything ;)

    Glad to see Warne offering another side and his point on team unity before the third test is important. We looked to be finally enjoying ourselves and we had the run of the play for all of the tests after except for broad's spell and KPs hitting

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  • Mitty2 on November 8, 2013, 3:18 GMT

    This is much better Warney. Completely correct apart from the outlandish suggestion of Cook being replaced which would seriously threaten the stability and confidence of the team. Why fix it if it ain't broke? No captain can get Eng to number 1 anyway, SA have superior bowlers and batsmen.

    "Clarke has Cook covered on tactics but where he must improve is in creating a happier team environment" - this is true. Why the appointment of Lehman was so crucial was to fix the cancerous system that had been developed by Arthur and Clarke. Clarke being a captain was the prime factor in making such a bad, 'selfish' environment and Arthur pushed this individual mentality. Watson certainly didn't help the environment - he generally doesn't help anything ;)

    Glad to see Warne offering another side and his point on team unity before the third test is important. We looked to be finally enjoying ourselves and we had the run of the play for all of the tests after except for broad's spell and KPs hitting

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on November 8, 2013, 3:23 GMT

    Yes Cook is conservative in the field as a captain but he is more a team man than Clarke will ever be. As an Aussie I would take a captain like Cook any day over Clarke

  • ShutTheGate on November 8, 2013, 3:23 GMT

    I don't know why Warne is becoming mister opinionated - is Chappelli planning on retiring from media?

    But I do think he is right about what he's quoted as saying about Clarke, Cook, KP and Swann.

    I have a suspicion that he might be slightly biased towards Waugh and Ponting as he saw himself as a candidate for those roles and I think he would have made a great captain if his off field antics didn't deprive him of an opportunity.

  • on November 8, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    I believe in Cook, I reckon he could be the best English captain so far. I think he's not negative, just conservative and patient, his team won in India, and he scored a ton, sure Swann and Panesar are best english spinners of all time, but he is just a great captain. I think Clarke is a negative captain because he has a negative personality, and this rubs off on the team, no straight short mid-on can positivize this.

  • heathrf1974 on November 8, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    Someone most likely got into Warne's ear. There are some people (not many) Warney likes more than himself.

  • Shaggy076 on November 8, 2013, 3:37 GMT

    Im not sure if Warney knows what hypocrit means? He has a go at Ponting for what he wrote about Clarke then he is far more critical of Clarke than Ponting ever was.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge. on November 8, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    I love Warney, but his entire beef with Steve Waugh is that Steve was among a panel that dropped Warne for a test series in the West Indies when Warne was struggling.

    From that point Warne has made it his very obvious intention of slating or undermining Waugh at any juncture, be it with little snipes like this or via long-winded diatribes about how wearing a 'skull cap' to mark 100 years of test cricket wasn't necessary (when it was really just a nice gesture).

    For those who think he should keep keep quiet, understandable to a point, but he's either writing this in an article or responding to queries. He doesn't phone up the media and say 'here's what I think of X, Y and Z'.

    These various media vessels ask Warney these things for the fact that he is a legend of the game, speaks his mind and is also extremely well-known and respected as a player.

    Neither captain of this upcoming series is perfect, in fact none have ever been. Both need to address the items raised by Warne.

  • smudgeon on November 8, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    So what Warne is saying is that between Clarke and Cook, you have one excellent captain at both sides of things?

  • Team_Cook on November 8, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    I recall Andy Flower saying in an interview that, there is much more to captaincy than setting funky fields. Sure Clarke sets up aggressive fields and so called innovative fields, in comparison to Cook. This doesn't mean that Clarke is a better captain than Cook, he would just be a better TACTICIAN than Cook.

    Cook was made full time ODI captain in 2011 and Full time test captain in 2012. I can recall a numerous times when the team have struggled and Cook has put his hand up and lead from the front. The most recent one being the tour of India, where he was just immense.

    When Cook was appointed full time captain, the first thing he did was to ensure that his star batsman, Kevin Pietersen was recalled to the team despite all the shenanigans in the summer of 2012. It is no doubt that Cook has the respect of the entire dressing room and the Fans too.

    Warnie can try as hard as he likes but it is pretty obvious that Cook is a fantastic leader of this team and he will only get better

  • Optic on November 8, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    The fact is and it's never been denied by Cook, is this is his first real crack at Captaining, although he was set up to replace Strauss sometime. ago It will be a constant learning curve for him just like it is for any Captain that takes over their national team, that includes the likes of even Mike Brearley. There are times he could be more pro active but then again there are times Clarke looks like he's just trying anything hoping it works. I've said it before but the myth that Clarke is a great Captain is just that, one that has mostly been bigged up by his best mate Warne. Everything that he's been critical of Cook, Clarke did exactly the same during the Ashes ie, ultra defensive fields, slow over rates, defensive batting etc. It's very easy to look pro active when you're losing, it's all you've really got but the fact is Clarke has had to be because he's been chasing the game most of the time. Cook's man management seems excellent and he knows how to get his team to perform.