Australia really found the Bridgetown pitch to their liking yesterday. Firstly, they bludgeoned their way to 184 for five with Shane Watson and David Warner hitting 13 sixes between them. Then Dirk Nannes and Shaun Tait ran amok to leave India in disarray at 23 for four. Although, Rohit Sharma inspired a late order recovery, the fat lady had already sung and left the building, and Australia eased to a comfortable victory, leaving question marks about some of the Indian batsmen’s ability to cope with extreme pace on a bouncy wicket.
But there was also another major talking point that emerged concerning Australian captain Michael Clarke. Now like many other observers, we at the Reverse Sweep have often questioned Clarke’s place in this formidable Australian T20 side. He may be a fantastic test and ODI batsman, but his strike rate of 106.45 in 27 T20 internationals does not compare favourably with those of his team mates and other leading T20 batsmen. And when you consider that Clarke usually bats in the pivotal number three position then his position in the side becomes all the more untenable.
So it was fascinating to see that Clarke seems to have woken up and smelt the coffee before his national selectors. As the Hussey brothers, White, Haddin and even Steve Smith entered the fray before their skipper, one couldn’t help but feel that Clarke has finally found his true place in this side – that of non-playing captain.
This all presents an interesting quandary for the Australian selectors. As a player Clarke is clearly not worth a place in this line-up. But they have publicly anointed him as the successor to Ricky Ponting as captain in all forms of the game. Do the selectors do as their English counterparts have done with Trott, Cook and Bell and jettison a player from a format that he clearly does not suit? Or do they persist with Clarke in T20 until he can at least take over the captaincy of the ODI side? It could prove to be a fascinating ride.
As well as writing regularly for World Cricket Watch, David Green has his own blog entitled The Reverse Sweep, which is updated daily, and writes a twice weekly column for CricDude. You can also follow David on Twitter @TheReverseSweep.
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