Aggression has been in the soul of every Australian cricketer and specifically every Australian skipper. The Kangaroos strictly believe in adhering to an aggressive brand of cricket in order to succeed. The strategy has worked tremendously well for the men from Down Under as they are most successful side in cricket history.
Michael Clarke is no different and the Australian skipper admitted that he will be aggressive in the upcoming Ashes. In an interview, Clarke admitted that being aggressive was the biggest strength of the Australians. By saying so, Clarke has meant genuine business. He has sent a strong message to England and this means that sledging is pretty much inevitable.
“I know we play a tough brand of cricket but we’re also respectful towards the players we play against, and to the game of cricket,” Clarke said. “A lot of it sells newspapers and it builds the series as well, so I’m more than happy for there to be a lot of talk about it. It’s entertaining for the people who are going to be at home watching or come to the ground to watch,” said Clarke.
“I think everyone knows where the line is. In the last Ashes series if anyone overstepped it, it was me so I have to make sure I set my standard and have the discipline to stay there as well, which I know I will. You definitely need to respect the laws of the game, you can play hard but play fair. You don’t have to sledge to play tough cricket. It’s as much about body language and intent and attitude as it is about verbal stuff that comes out of your mouth,” said the Australian skipper.
“I’ve learned from what’s happened in the past, and the boys know how we play our best cricket. This Australian team, and any Australian team I’ve been part of, has always played tough cricket on the field but also understood and respected there’s a line there. As long as the boys respect that I’ll be happy.”
Clarke also spoke about the conditions he expected for the test matches. “It’s got a lot of grass on it. It’s surprising how much grass is on it,” Clarke said. “So I think if it stays that way it’s going to be interesting to see how it plays. I think it’ll come down to what England are after. If they’re worried about spin bowling, they’ll leave more grass on it. If they’re worried about pace, it’ll have a bit more moisture in it. From what I’m see today and what the groundsman’s telling me, I think we’re going to see some sideways movement from the fast bowlers.”
The Australian skipper also admitted the fact that the overcast conditions mattered more than the nature of the wicket. A lot of grounds around the world you look at the pitch before deciding whether you’re going to bat or bowl first. In the UK you look above more than at the wicket, he said.
“When it’s overcast you see a lot more movement around the country and when the sun’s out it can be a really nice place to bat,” Clarke said.
“The other thing is in conditions like that, once you get in as batsman you have to go on and make a big score. You’re never out of the game as a bowler, there’s always something there – whether it’s the slope at Lord’s or you get some overhead conditions, or you take the second new ball. There’s always an opportunity with the Duke ball.”
“So as a batter you need to know that. In Australia when you feel like you’re batting well and get to 40 and 50, things become a little bit easier. Sometimes here it’s not the case, you’ve got to work your backside off for your whole innings.” concluded Clarke.