Zimbabwe v Australia, Tri-series, Harare September 2, 2014

Clarke will keep being 'open and honest'

ESPNcricinfo staff

Michael Clarke has said he will continue to be "open and honest" with the media despite the coach Darren Lehmann suggesting conversations regarding selection should remain behind closed doors.

After Australia's loss to South Africa last Wednesday, Clarke said he believed the selectors needed to "think about the conditions we're playing in" and that Australia had to "use our spinners a bit more than what we have so far". But Steven Smith, Australia's next best player of spin after Clarke, as well as being a part-time legspinner, was left out for the next game against Zimbabwe.

That match turned into a shock loss on a slow, turning pitch on which Nathan Lyon collected four wickets and Clarke was left with mostly pace-bowling options. After the defeat, Clarke said he was disappointed Smith had been left out by the selectors. Asked about Clarke's comments the following day at training, Lehmann said: "I would rather our conversations stay out of the media."

Clarke arrived home in Sydney on Tuesday, after aggravating his hamstring injury while batting against Zimbabwe. When told of Lehmann's remarks, Clarke said: "That's Boof's opinion. I have always been open and honest to the media and that's not going to change.

"I am not going to talk anymore about it, I made my thoughts clear after the game, as I have always said my goal as captain of Australia is to win every game, there is no easy game as we have just seen. I think we have to respect the fact no matter what 11 we put on the field if we play the way we did the other night we are not going to win many games at all."

Any disagreement between Clarke and the selectors might be minor in the greater scheme of things, but with such a heavy schedule coming up over the next few months, a strong working relationship will be critical. The one-day side is building towards the home World Cup in February-March and the selectors seem to be using this tri-series to assess various players.

Lyon has played the first and third games of the tour but was dropped for the second, while Smith played the first two before being cut for the third. Lehmann said juggling the squad and ensuring all players were given a chance meant some hard decisions had been made.

"[With Lyon] we wanted to obviously get some time into Mitchell Marsh and it was a fresh wicket, so that game didn't spin as much as they are now," Lehmann said. "[With Smith], again it was a case of making sure we give everyone enough game time.

"You just chat about the side the selectors and the captain wants and that's what you do. But again that's staying well between the captain and the selectors."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Greg on September 4, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    If you have a problem with the selections then that should be discussed behind closed doors not in the public. Perhaps if Clarke had chosen to field first Australia might have won!

  • Cameron on September 3, 2014, 6:01 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx, no it isn't. Clarke should be able to talk about it, he's the captain and captains are always up for criticism so should be able to offer us a little insight into what is going on.

  • Gordon on September 3, 2014, 4:41 GMT

    It is good he doesn't have the final say because if he did you would probably have a full Australian team full of people from New South Wales only.

  • Fazal on September 3, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    Clarke is right I think the captain should have the final say in selecting the team making any minor adjustments if necessary. He should feel confident with the side that he has got when he walks on to the field to bat or field. He should not have any negative thoughts about his team. After all you don't play to lose. It was very obvious right from the start even before a ball was bowled that the team was unballanced with too many fast bowlers and just one spinner on a flat spinners wicket which was tailor made for the home team Zimbabwe. I am sure they would have been overjoyed looking at the aussie bowling attack. Maxwell and Finch are only part time spinners and Smith should have played instead of Faulkner. Even Mitchell Johnson would have been a better option . Never underestimate a lower ranked team in the future.The damage, embarrasment, loss of confidence and losing the number one ranking is a severe blow before the 2015 Cricket World Cup in February.

  • rob on September 3, 2014, 2:43 GMT

    I don't think there's anything wrong with having a robust opinion. He is the captain (for the moment anyway) and entitled to an opinion. Saying it publicly might not be ideal but it's out of the bag now and if everybody is mature enough it should help rather than hinder us.

  • brad on September 3, 2014, 1:39 GMT

    Sack michael clarke,phillip(talks about himself too much)hughes and james faulkner from the one day team

  • Ross on September 3, 2014, 1:26 GMT

    Clarke was wrong to view his comments publicly, he should have just told boof what he thought as boof has got us back to number 1 and Clarke needs to work closely with the super coach and selectors

  • Brady on September 2, 2014, 23:45 GMT

    I can't blame Clarke for what he said. He is the one who has to answer the media's questions after the game and is held ultimately responsible for the teams performance. The fact is the team for that game was lacking a specialist spinner and probably another specialist batsmen - it was heavy with "all-rounders".

  • Dummy4 on September 2, 2014, 14:25 GMT

    Except fir a brief period the Aussie selectors have always finalused the 11.. It's boomeranged in the past and did it again the other night. Such means get the captain back into selection panel or least consult him before finalizing.

  • Dummy4 on September 2, 2014, 13:00 GMT

    Michael Clarke is strategically right but out of line in commenting publicly on something not his responsibility. Australia need to stay united on all fronts.

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