As we inch closer to the all-important Ashes, the cricketing world is gearing up for a scintillating contest between two powerhouses of the Sport – England, and Australia.
After Aussie spin wizard, Shane Warne gave England the advantage over the Kangaroos, former skipper Michael Clarke has his say on the epic contest.
According to the classy right-hander, Steven Smith and his brigade will have the chance to create history and leave their footprints on the sands of time when they take on England for the Ashes crown. As Aussie vice-captain David Warner quoted it .’ “as soon as you step on that line it’s war.”
Clarke strongly believes it is up to the skipper Smith to decide what kind of approach will work for the team when a lot is up at stake.
“[Warner] has made it pretty clear how he wants the team to play this summer,” said Clarke, who will commentate on the series for Channel Nine. “Whether Steve Smith agrees with that or not is going to be an interesting conversation in that change room,” he added.
“Davey has come out publicly and said, ‘No, we’ve got to show more aggression, we’ve got to go hard, and I want it to be like a war on the field’. I’ve always been a big believer that it’s not so much what you say; it’s what you do. But body language and intent is so important. If Smithy doesn’t want the team to play like that, then that’s going to be interesting.”
According to Clarke, a series win is absolutely crucial for the team, as they can also upgrade their disappointing ICC Test ranking of 5th with a victory.
“Australia is ranked fifth in the world. If we lose this series … there’s going to be pressure on a few people,” Clarke said. “This is their chance to not only win the Ashes but to turn that around. We’re accustomed to Australia being the best team in the world and I’m certain that’s where Steve Smith wants his team to go, and that’s why I see it as a wonderful opportunity for this Australian team.
“Are they going to go that aggressive approach like we did four years ago and use Mitchell Johnson in short spells and not care about his accuracy? We spoke openly with our bowlers that our attitude was going to be from seven to eleven we weren’t bowling blokes out. We were getting them caught off the glove, caught at bat-pad, caught at third-man. We had a really set plan that we felt was going to win us the series.” said the 36-year-old.
“I think the Australian team is a little unsure about their style at the moment probably because they’ve had so many changes in different formats of the game. How does Steve Smith want the Australian team to go about their work? How does he believe this team can get back to No.1 in the world?” added Clarke.
Clarke backed Warner to maintain his aggressive approach towards the game, as it has worked massively for him in his career. Clarke is rooting for the left-hander to unleash the fire in his belly at the Ashes.
“I think his attitude is the key to Australia’s intent,” he said. “When he walks out and bats with that intent he always has success. To me, he needs to be involved in the game all the time.
“He needs to set that tone because it’s in his character. He actually plays his best when he is aggressive with his approach, both in the field and even verbally at times, but then the way he bats as well.”