Progression not aggression key for Australia captain Michael Clarke
The skipper helped Australia to a stunning 5-0 victory in the Ashes before securing a 2-1 win in South Africa, with both series seeing heated exchanges involving Clarke.
Following his infamous spat with England’s James Anderson in the Ashes, where he warned the left-hander to “expect a broken f****** arm”, he and Dale Steyn became embroiled in a disagreement over Vernon Philander’s non-dismissal during the final Test in Cape Town.
With Clarke having played a key role in Australia’s recent resurgence to the top of the Test and one-day international rankings, he urged people to judge him on the side’s progression.
“I understand and respect that some people might have thought, ‘well, we didn’t know that Michael had that anger and aggression in him’, but you can’t be judged as a good captain if you win an Ashes series, or a bad captain if you lose,” he told Cricket Australia .
“Over a period of time you are judged (on) performance – it can’t be about one Test match or five Test matches whether you’re good or bad.
“So if people like me more because I said that to James Anderson, then I think that’s very silly.
“If people think that all of a sudden I’m a good captain because I said that to James Anderson, then I think that’s silly as well.
“I think they should judge me on my individual performances as a player, and as a captain.
“Judge me on my leadership, judge me on ‘are we winning games of cricket?’.
“Am I trying to get the best out of my team-mates? Are we going forward as team? Because if we’re not, it doesn’t matter what I say, I’m not the right guy to captain.”
The exchange with Anderson was arguably the most prickly moment of what was always likely to be a fiery five-test showdown, with England having won the previous series on home soil just a few months prior.
While Clarke regrets his colourful choice of language, he believes that he was right to stand up to Anderson, having claimed that the Englishman threatened to punch George Bailey.
“Maybe I hadn’t said exactly what I said to James Anderson (previously), but I’d stuck up for my players on a number of occasions and it’s never been picked up on the stump mic,” he added.
“Nobody has ever spoken about it and when I say I regret it, I regret the language I used and I regret that I said it over the stump mic.
“The last thing I want is for boys and girls watching cricket to be going and playing club cricket and saying things like that to opposition players.
“I think it’s unacceptable that the Australian cricket captain is setting that example but I don’t regret standing up for George Bailey one bit.
“I don’t regret being extremely honest with James Anderson… I just regret that everybody heard it and the language I used.”
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