<
>

Clarke will keep being 'open and honest'

Michael Clarke shakes hands with Prosper Utseya AFP

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."