England v Australia, World Twenty20 final, Barbados May 16, 2010

Clarke concedes he was 'not up to scratch'


Michael Clarke has admitted his place in Australia's Twenty20 line-up will come under scrutiny when the team gets home despite him leading the side to the final of the World Twenty20. His captaincy is not the major source of concern, but he has laboured with the bat throughout the tournament with 92 runs 15.33.

He came in at No. 3 against England and quickly ran out David Warner after a terrible call for a single to cover and almost did the same to Brad Haddin later that over. He contributed 27, his top score for the competition, as Australia recovered from 8 for 3 but it was a horribly scratchy innings which was ended when he chipped Graeme Swann to midwicket.

His Twenty20 international record now stands at 437 runs with an average of 21.86, although it's the strike-rate of barely above a run a ball which is a major problem. Australia's power-packed line-up was largely able to cover for his form, but England didn't mind the longer he stayed in during the final. Life was much harder when David Hussey and Cameron White joined forces.

"There's no doubt that the selectors will need to have a look at my performances," he said in an unusually candid remark. "I certainly know they haven't been up to scratch through this whole tournament and probably in Twenty20 cricket in general. I'm sure the selectors will sit down and have a look and if I'm not the right guy for No. 3 and the captaincy then they'll make that decision."

Clarke was handed the captaincy when Ricky Ponting retired from the Twenty20 format, although there was already concern whether he was the best man for the job with White gaining considerable support. But with Clarke being Ponting's vice-captain in Tests and one-dayers it was the logical step.

He has led his team well in the tournament as they produced an unbeaten run to the final before coming unstuck as Sri Lanka did last year. Australia's Twenty20 cricket has made huge strides after they were dumped out in the first round in England with the likes of Dirk Nannes, Shaun Tait and David Hussey making major contributions. If Australia stick to their method of picking a team first, then a captain, Clarke may struggle to hold his place, although he relished the challenge over the last two weeks.

"I've enjoyed every minute it," Clarke said. "Captaining your country is a wonderful thing and I've been very lucky to get that chance. I'm stoked to have been given this opportunity to lead the Twenty20 team. There are no guarantees in this world and it's about getting back and preparing for the next tournament. I'll be back as vice-captain which I really enjoy and we have a wonderful leader back in Australia."

Reflecting on the final, which Australia lost by seven wickets, he offered no excuses for the defeat which ended the team's hopes of holding the three limited-overs titles at the same time. However, the result clearly stung following the Ashes reversal in England last year.

"I've seen them celebrate twice in a short space of time now but they deserved it," he said. The boys were very keen and excited about today. We knew we needed to be at our best. We knew England were going to be tough, they are a very tough Twenty20 team and losing those three wickets early didn't help and it put a lot of pressure on our middle order.

"But I thought we did well to scrape our way to 140-odd, although we were probably about 30 runs short, or 50 runs short the way England batted. We got beaten by the better team today."

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • santhoshkudva on May 19, 2010, 15:30 GMT

    Pup might not be a match winner as a batsman, but that doesn't mean he does not have a place in the aussie lineup. nine times out of ten an aussie victory is a routine one and on all the nine occasions, he is there for the team. his job is to do the routine, and he has not disappointed in that role. on the odd occasion when Australia is stretched, he might have let the team down, but any day i would take a player who completes the job on most occasions than not. we might find an Andrew mcdonald as his replacement who might secure an impossible win, but very rarely does Australia find itself in such a position. and in most cases, such players fail on nine occasions.

  • Icyman on May 19, 2010, 8:34 GMT

    Clarke is not the right choice to lead the Aussies. Even though he is the vice-captain, that doesnt mean that he will do a great job. Remember Gilchrist, who despite being the vice captain never got a shot at being a full time captain. Clarke needs to step down from playing T20s and hand it over to Cam White. I believe, White has the ability to lead the Kangaroos in a much better manner than Clarke.

  • Nikobelle on May 19, 2010, 1:27 GMT

    Michael Clarke might not be a flashy fast-scoring T20 batsman but he has an amazingly positive, honest AND humble attitude and I don't think I've seen a happier Australian team than this one. I actually supported them in the final because they worked hard and enjoyed their cricket, it wasn't just a clinical exercise. So while his batting wasn't so good, I personally think his captaincy was great and his high spirits (he's always smiling) make this team one to remember and cheer for!

  • Winsome on May 18, 2010, 23:40 GMT

    Cheers, Wizza, I've been trying to get some people to understand that taking our slowest ODI batsmen and giving him the captaincy and no 3 position in the 20/20 team is just about as stupid as you can get. Why people think he will suddenly 'adjust' and learn to hit the ball over the top in power plays when he is actually getting slower in short formats I really don't get.

    But the stats say it far better than I could.

  • ygkd on May 18, 2010, 22:30 GMT

    Michael Clarke is not a T20 player (but a test one). The best thing he's ever done in a T20 match is running out David Warner, who is a T20 player (not a test one as Ian Chappell suggests) and I don't mean that facetiously. The two teams should go separate ways. Put Aiden Blizzard in. He can't play first class cricket either, but he has smashed the ball around in the domestic 20/20 Big Bash which is very aptly named. Oh, and make Cameron White skipper. He's earned it.

  • onlinegamer55 on May 18, 2010, 14:44 GMT

    The transition Clarke made from being an uncertain batsmen in 2004, to an accomplished test batsmen now, gives strong indication that he is a good enough player to adapt to any form of the game. I think what Clarke is concerned about, is that if he tries too hard to become a T20 batsmen, he may lose his patience in tests; the way he spoke about the selectors having a think about his place in the team suggests to me that he wouldn't mind being axed from T20. In fact, I think that's the right way to go. Many of the greatest cricketers aren't the sort of batsmen you would associate to sloggers, and if Clarke can continue his strong test record, he can become a cricketing great. He doesn't need to become a good T20 player. If, on the contrary, he does, then he needs to find a way to convert one in every ten balls into a four or a six. That's all he needs to do, really. If he can take 9 singles of 9 balls, hitting a boundary on one of the ten balls would give him a strike rate of 130 or150.

  • ry13 on May 18, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    Why is everyone so obsessed with the fact that Clarke is Ponting's successor??? Ricky isn't retiring tomorrow......And when he does it will be a huge blow to Oz.... Anyways lets enjoy of what's left of ricky...

  • Markus971 on May 18, 2010, 2:34 GMT

    The Clarke & Hussey partnership wasn't good enough! Not quick enough. Notice D.Hussey scored 59 in 54 balls! Thats 9 overs!! Australia's last 10 overs were around 100 runs! If they (the late order batsman) were given 2 or 3 more overs, the pressure on the English would have been (marginally) greater. ?? Well Done to the England Team. To Good. How about a best of 3 final series? (Or first to 2.) In a Day!!

  • Puppster23 on May 18, 2010, 2:01 GMT

    @Geraldine Mate, Clarke came back into the test side just on the basis of one knock where he scored 201* for the Blues. The other thing is with Australia playing right through the year, when do u expect Clarke to play T20 at the domestic level...???

  • Geraldine on May 17, 2010, 18:22 GMT

    Puppster, you are the only here that wants Clarke to play for Australia (from those that actually want Australia to win.) He may go on to become a T20 player, but International level is not the place to learn a trade. He has to go back to domestic level and learn how to play T20 there. Suggesting that Clarke should play T20's for Australia is like saying that David Warner should play tests for Australia -- there is nothing to base your opinion on besides that you like him. He has never shown that he has the ability to play T20's, so it it really just wishful thinking on the part of you and the selectors.

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