Michael Clarke | Sportzwiki

Michael Clarke

Jofra Archer made his Test debut at Lord’s against Australia last year. (Source: Reuters)
Jofra Archer made his Test debut at Lord’s against Australia last year. (Source: Reuters)
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England Can’t Win 2021-22 Ashes Without Pacer Jofra Archer, Says Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke has stated that England stands no chance of winning the Ashes series Down Under later this year without the services of paceman Jofra Archer, who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury. The former Australian captain also hoped for an improved performance from the hosts.

England’s last Ashes triumph in Australia came in 2010-11 when they’d taken the series with three games to one under Andrew Strauss. It remains their only success Down Under since 1986-87. After going down 0-4 in 2017-18, England failed to reclaim the honours at home in the 2019 edition that followed, which ended at 2-2.

Michael Clarke. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Michael Clarke. (Photo Source: Getty Images)(Photo by Pramod Thakur/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Michael Clarke: England Can’t Win Without Jofra Archer

Joe Root’s men went into the final Test of that series at The Oval trailing 1-2, facing an uphill challenge against an in-form Australia. However, much like he had done at the World Cup earlier that summer, Jofra Archer made a decisive impact in the decider, returning with 6/62 in the first innings to set up England’s series-levelling 135-run win.

Jofra Archer eventually finished as the third-highest wicket-taker in the series, with 22 scalps at 20.27. In 2021, his longevity in Test cricket now seems in jeopardy, courtesy of a recurring elbow injury. The 26-year-old has been ruled out of all cricket for the remainder of the year, which includes the T20 World Cup in the UAE and the Ashes tour.

Jofra Archer - GETTY IMAGES
Jofra Archer – GETTY IMAGES

Michael Clarke, who had led Australia to a 5-0 whitewash in his last Ashes series at home, believes that Jofra Archer’s absence has dented the visitors’ chances significantly ahead of the next edition.

“They can’t win without him. England cannot beat Australia in Australia without Jofra Archer,” Clarke was quoted saying on Sky Sports Big Sports Breakfast on Friday, August 6.

“No Ben Stokes either, they’re cooked. Their batting is not that good. He (Archer) is their fear factor. Without Archer I think they’re cooked.”

Ben Stokes, who too may be unavailable, compounds England’s problems. He took an indefinite break from all forms of cricket with immediate effect, England Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed in a statement. Ben Stokes didn’t take part in the 1st Test and won’t do so in the remainder of the ongoing series against India.

The 30-year-old will also be nursing his left index finger which has not fully healed before he led England’s limited-overs squad against Pakistan in the absence of skipper Eoin Morgan and the rest of the team as they were in isolation following Covid-19 positive report from 7 members including 3 players.

Michael Clarke Hopeful Of An Improvement From Australia In The Ashes

Australia had gone down to India in their last Test assignment at home, with Marnus Labuschagne, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood being their standout performers in a closely fought series. Michael Clarke is optimistic of an improved all-round show from Tim Paine’s side against England.

“Our quicks and Nathan Lyon should perform better than against India,” said the former World Cup-winning captain Michael Clarke. “The batting is another year older and another year wiser. I think you’ll see a better team (in the Ashes).”

Marnus Labuschagne
Marnus Labuschagne (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Marnus Labuschagne scored 426 runs averaging 53.25 while Steve Smith scored 313 runs averaging 44.71 and were Australia’s leading run-scorers in the 2020/21 Border Gavaskar Trophy won by India.

Josh Hazlewood(17), Pat Cummins(21) were among the wickets while Mitchell Starc (11) and Nathan Lyon (9) were disappointing, to say the least. In fact, Mitchell Starc’s average was above 40 while Nathan Lyon’s average was 55.

Usman Khawaja of Australia celebrates scoring his century during game five of the One Day International series between India and Australia at Feroz Shah Kotla Ground on March 13, 2019 in Delhi, India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Usman Khawaja of Australia celebrates scoring his century during game five of the One Day International series between India and Australia at Feroz Shah Kotla Ground on March 13, 2019 in Delhi, India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
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Usman Khawaja Revealed Facing Racism During Early Days As A Cricketer

Usman Khawaja revealed that many told him that he would never make it at the top because of his skin colour, as he revealed having faced racism during his early days as a cricketer.

Usman Khawaja became the first Muslim cricketer to play for Australia at the highest level when he made his Test debut in the 2011 Ashes. His achievements inspired several others like him to take up the sport as a profession but the batsman’s journey to the top wasn’t the easiest.

Usman Khawaja .© AFP
Usman Khawaja .© AFP

Usman Khawaja Revealed The Ordeal He Went During Early Days

Usman Khawaja, who came to Australia from Pakistan in the 1990s, did face racism during his early days and was even told that he would never make it to the national team. In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, he revealed the ordeal he went through during those days.

“When I was younger in Australia, the amount of time I got told I was never going to play for Australia, I’m not the right skin colour was immense. I’d get told I don’t fit the team, and they wouldn’t pick me. That was the mentality, but now it’s starting to shift.”, he said.

Usman Khawaja. CREDIT:AAP
Usman Khawaja. CREDIT:AAP

Australia has a decent population of people from the sub-continent. Seeing Usman Khawaja rise through the ranks, many came up to him and praised him for taking the path despite it being a route of extreme resistance.

“When I started being more involved in cricket, people with subcontinent heritage in Australia came up to me and said, “we’re so happy to see you at the top. Seeing someone like you, we feel we’ve got a part in the Australian team, and we support the Australian team. We didn’t do it before, and we do it now,” said Khawaja.

Born in Pakistan, Usman Khawaja moved with his family to Australia when he was a young boy, and in the 2011 Sydney Ashes Test became the first Muslim to play for Australia.

A classy left-hander in the languid style of David Gower, Usman Khawaja won further Test opportunities from 2011 to 2013 but never quite kicked on beyond his regularly appealing starts. Dropped during the 2013 Ashes, he earned another recall in 2015 for the home series against New Zealand following the retirements of Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers.

Usman Khawaja Initially Didn’t Support Australia But Has Played 44 Tests, 40 ODIs And 9 T20Is For Australia

The Islamabad-born even admitted that he didn’t support Australia (in cricket) in the beginning as he didn’t quite connect with the team then. It took him time to adapt before he could leave his background behind and be what he is at present.

“And that kept happening over and over and over again. The more that happened, I realised my background does matter, and it does make a difference. And then I realised from my childhood it probably took me a while to support Australia. I didn’t really support Australia when I first went [from Pakistan] because I didn’t really get it,” he added.

Usman Khawaja - R. V. MOORTHY
Usman Khawaja – R. V. MOORTHY

Usman Khwaja had since played 44 Test, 40 ODI and 9 T20I matches for Australia. The 34-year-old left-hander may be recalled to the Australian team. Usman Khawaja, who has scored 2877 runs in 44 Tests at an average of 40.66, has not played for Australia since August 2019. His last T20I came in 2016 and his last ODI was in July 2019 during World Cup.

But Usman Khawaja’s subcontinent demons were finally put to rest in the UAE in 2018 when he made an epic match-saving century against Pakistan in Dubai. He became Australia’s most senior batsman while Steve Smith and David Warner were banned following the ball-tampering scandal and settled himself in the ODI team with two outstanding tours of India and the UAE in 2019, making his first two ODI centuries to ensure selection in the 2019 World Cup squad.

Ricky Ponting, right, is set to be replaced as Australia captain by Michael Clarke. Photograph: Aijaz Rahi/AP
Ricky Ponting, right, is set to be replaced as Australia captain by Michael Clarke. Photograph: Aijaz Rahi/AP
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Michael Clarke Opens Up On How He Saved Predecessor Ricky Ponting From Getting Dropped

Michael Clarke, former Australia captain has revealed that he saved his predecessor two-time World Cup-winning skipper Ricky Ponting from getting dropped from the national side after taking over the reins of the national team.

It’s not common for Australian captains to continue playing after stepping down as they usually retire while still in charge. Allan Border, Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh, and even Michael Clarke himself, are some of the examples.

Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting (Photo | IPL Twitter)
Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting (Photo | IPL Twitter)

Michael Clarke Fought To Keep Ricky Ponting In Team When He Took Captaincy

However, it wasn’t the case with Ricky Ponting, one of the most successful captains in Test history. Ricky Ponting stepped down from the Australian captaincy after the 2011 World Cup, and expectably Michael Clarke took over. Ricky Ponting remained committed to the team’s cause and received backing from his long-time vice-captain, who believed in his experience and ability.

Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke. (Getty )
Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke. (Getty )

Speaking to former NRL star Brett Finch on his Uncensored podcast, Michael Clarke revealed that Australian selectors were keen to move on and drop Ricky Ponting to provide the new leader with a fresh environment.

“When I took over the captaincy, that’s why I fought to keep Ricky,” said Michael Clarke.

“The selectors said, ‘Very rarely does a captain stand down and stay in the team, so if you don’t feel comfortable … it’s time for Ricky to go’.

“I said, ‘We need him. We need him for his batting, but he’ll be another coach for us’. So I fought hard to keep him, I wanted him there. I thought he played a big part in helping that younger generation get to the level we needed to. If he was batting at 80 per cent, he was better than anybody else at No. 3 or No. 4. We think the grass is greener all the time. Very rarely is it.”

Although Ricky Ponting has admitted that his form tailed off in the last phase of his career, he still had the backing of his captain and ended up playing 16 Tests under Michael Clarke between 2011 and late 2012, scoring 1,015 runs at an average of 37.59.

This phase brought his career batting average down from the mid-50s to 51.85. Ricky Ponting was the captain of the Australian cricket team when they won the 2003 and 2007 World Cup.

Ricky Ponting played 375 ODIs for Australia and scored 13704 runs at an average of 42.04. He also has 30 centuries and 82 fifties. Even in the Test format, Ricky Ponting has 13378 runs in 168 matches with 41 hundred. Ricky Ponting is considered one of the most successful captains in international cricket history, with 220 victories in 324 matches with a winning ratio of 67.91%.

Michael Clarke Never Dreamt Of Captaining Australia

In 2013, Ricky Ponting revealed in his autobiography that he didn’t feel as supported by Michael Clarke, the vice-captain. The latter admitted to the same in his autobiography too. In an interview with Brett Finch, Michael Clarke admitted that he found it hard to be Ricky Ponting’s understudy because of the inevitable wait.

“I dreamt of playing for Australia, but I never dreamt of captaining Australia. I found it really difficult when I was vice-captain that there was an expectation that I was always going to be the next captain. I hated that. I would rather have stayed a youngster or be captain. I wasn’t very good at the in-between,” added the 40-year-old.

Michael Clarke. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Michael Clarke. (Photo Source: Getty Images)(Photo by Pramod Thakur/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Michael Clarke debuted for Australia in 2003 and was immediately tipped to be a future Australian captain. He was promoted to the role of vice-captain after Adam Gilchrist’s retirement in 2008. Michael Clarke led Australia between 2011 and 2015. During his tenure, he became the fourth Australian captain after Allan Border, Steve Waugh, and Ricky Ponting (twice) to win the ODI World Cup.

Michael Clarke. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Michael Clarke. (Photo Source: Getty Images)(Photo by Pramod Thakur/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
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Michael Clarke Isn’t Surprised That More Than Three Cricketers Knew About The Sandpaper Gate

Michael Clarke, former Australia skipper said nobody is surprised that more than the taunted trio of Steve Smith, David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft knew about the Sandpaper Gate.

Michael Clarke’s remarks came as Cricket Australia (CA) on Saturday said it is open to reinvestigating the Sandpaper Gate fiasco if there is anyone who has more knowledge about the matter.

Former Australia skipper Michael Clarke (file image)
Former Australia skipper Michael Clarke (file image)

Michael Clarke Don’t Think Anybody Is Surprised That More Than 3 Cricketers Knew About The Ball Tampering Sandpaper Gate Incident

This announcement from the cricket board came after opening batsman Cameron Bancroft hinted that there had to be wider knowledge about ball-tampering during the ‘Sandpaper Gate’ incident in 2018 in the Cape Town Test between Australia and South Africa than just the trio of Steve Smith, David Warner and the opener himself.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ Big Sports Breakfast, Michael Clarke said: “They’ve got to hold the ball to bowl with it. I can tell you now if you went and grabbed a pen, just a pen and put a little ‘1’ somewhere on my cricket bat; on top of the handle, on the edge of the bat, on the toe of the bat, on the face, under the grip, anywhere, just a little number one, I would have noticed.”

“If you are playing sport at the highest level you know your tools that good it’s not funny. Can you imagine that ball being thrown back to the bowler and the bowler not knowing about it? Please,” Michael Clarke added.

Cameron Bancroft was banned for nine months for his role in the ball-tampering affair Gallo Images/Getty Images
Cameron Bancroft was banned for nine months for his role in the ball-tampering affair Gallo Images/Getty Images

Further reacting to Bancroft’s comments, Michael Clarke said: “I love how the articles in the paper are ‘it is such a big surprise that Cameron Bancroft has made a …’ Actually if you read his quotes it is not what he did say as what he didn’t say in regards to other people knowing about sandpaper gate.”

“What’s the surprise? That more than three people knew? I don’t think anybody who has played the game of cricket or knows a little bit about cricket would know that in a team like that, at the highest level, when the ball is such an important part of the game. I don’t think anybody is surprised that more than three people knew about it,” Michael Clarke added.

In March 2018, Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera trying to change the condition of the ball using sandpaper in a Test match against South Africa in Cape Town. The incident later went on to be labeled as the ‘Sandpaper Gate’ and is considered as one of the darkest moments in the history of Australian cricket.
Michael Clarke led Australia to their 5th Cricket World Cup triumph when his team was victorious in the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 at the MCG against New Zealand.

Cameron Bancroft: It’s Self Explanatory That The Bowlers Knew That The Ball Was Being Tampered With

Cameron Bancroft, who is playing county cricket in Durham, said it was ‘probably self-explanatory’ whether the bowlers were aware that the ball was being tampered with.

Three years since the Cape Town Test, Cameron Bancroft, while not having taken any names, has seemingly admitted that Australia’s bowling attack consisting of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, and Mitchell Marsh knew he was scuffing the ball up with sandpaper.

“Yeah, look, all I wanted to do was to be responsible and accountable for my own actions and part. Yeah, obviously what I did benefits bowlers, and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” Bancroft said to the Guardian interviewer Donald McRae as reported by ESPNcricinfo.

“I guess one thing I learned through the journey and being responsible is that’s where the buck stops [with Bancroft himself]. Had I had better awareness I would have made a much better decision,” he added.

When he was further stressed, Bancroft replied: “Uh… yeah, look, I think, yeah, I think it’s pretty probably self-explanatory.”

Steve Smith (Image Credit: Twitter)
Steve Smith (Image Credit: Twitter)

On the third day of the match against South Africa, Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera trying to alter the condition of the ball. As soon as the clip was shown on television, it went viral on social media and the entire cricketing fraternity condemned the act.

After the conclusion of the day’s play, Cameron Bancroft and then Australia skipper Steve Smith admitted that they did tamper with the ball. David Warner’s involvement in the act was also confirmed. Australia went on to lose the match and Cricket Australia took some bold calls as they first removed the captain and vice-captain of the side.

Later, the Australian cricket board handed a one-year ban to both Steve Smith and David Warner, while Cameron Bancroft was given a nine-month suspension. Australia coach Darren Lehmann also resigned after the episode.

Steve Smith and David Warner returned to the national team’s fold just before the 2019 ODI World Cup, while Cameron Bancroft has since struggled to break back in.

File image of Pat Cummins | Andrew Boyers/Reuters
File image of Pat Cummins | Andrew Boyers/Reuters
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Pat Cummins Right Man To Lead Australia In All 3 Formats: Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke, former Australian skipper believes that pacer Pat Cummins is the right man to lead Australia in all three formats when the time is right.

Ever since Australia lost the Test series against India, there have been calls to replace the skipper, and current Test skipper Tim Paine has coped with severe criticism.

Cricket New South Wales Names Pacer Pat Cummins As A Skipper For Marsh One-Day Cup 1

Michael Clarke: Pat Cummins Right Guy To Take Over The Leadership In All 3 Formats And Will Need A Good Vice-Captain

Tim Paine was assigned captaincy after Steve Smith’s tenure as captain came to a premature end for his involvement in the Sandpaper Gate against South Africa in Cape Town in March 2018. Steve Smith, along with David Warner who was also found guilty of cheating the game by ball-tampering, was handed a one-year ban on international cricket by Cricket Australia. Cameron Bancroft was only given a nine-month suspension.

“Just because Cummins isn’t out there saying I should be the next captain and I’m ready… it doesn’t mean he’s not a good leader. I’ve made it clear what I think about Pat Cummins. I think he’s shown he’s fit and strong enough to play all three formats now, he’s done that for the last few years. His captaincy I’ve watched tactically for New South Wales he’s been pretty good,” Michael Clarke told Big Sports Breakfast, as reported by Fox Sports.

Michael Clarke wants Steve Smith to reject the captaincy if it is offered to him.
Michael Clarke wants Steve Smith to reject the captaincy if it is offered to him. Source: Getty Images

“Yes he’s young and inexperienced as a leader but he’ll have good senior players around him so to me I do believe Pat Cummins is the right guy to take over the leadership in all three formats at the right time. Of course, he will need a good vice-captain. An example of that – if Tim Paine retires then someone like Alex Carey comes in, who has captained South Australia, captained the BBL, been vice-captain of Australia. I think he would make a very good vice-captain. You’ve got the likes of Steve Smith, David Warner, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne. All these guys have got leadership experience as well. They can help Pat Cummins,” Michael Clarke added.

Former Australia skipper Steve Smith also talked about how he wants to lead the national side once again. Steve Smith was removed as the captain once he confirmed his involvement in the Sandpaper Gate fiasco in the Cape Town Test against South Africa in March 2018.

“You don’t necessarily need to have the captain or vice-captain armband to be a leader and I feel like I say that every single day. Smithy is going to play a huge role in the Australian team moving forward, whether he takes over the captaincy or not, his leadership is going to be important,” said Michael Clarke.

“If Pat Cummins gets the job, that is the first guy I would be going to and speaking to. He’s going to need his support. I think Australia does have options, they are in a wonderful place. They’ve just got to have the confidence to pick the right person, back him, and put some support around him,” Michael Clarke added.

Tim Paine has led Australia’s Test side with distinction, but with the wicketkeeper-batsman will be turning 37 by the time he captains in the Ashes series against England at the end of 2021, as a clear succession plan would be required.

Few players have better credentials to succeed him than the 31-year-old Steve Smith but it has been fast bowler Pat Cummins who has been nurtured in the past as Australia’s vice-captain and he has been handed the one-day captaincy of New South Wales this season. The 39-year-old Michael Clarke said he was having no problem with under fire Tim Paine continuing as the captain but he definitely feels there is a need for more people to help him.

Justin Langer: No Captaincy Position Is Available

Hours after former Australia skipper Steve Smith spoke about being open to leading the national team Australia if the opportunity arises in the future, coach Justin Langer had said the Australian unit is in good hands with Tim Paine (Test captain) and Aaron Finch (white-ball captain).

“We have two very good captains and two important competitions coming up — an Ashes and a T20 World Cup. Our future looks good,” Langer told the ABC, as reported by Fox Sports.

Australia's head coach Justin Langer
Australia’s head coach Justin Langer (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)(AP)

“Despite the media chatter there is no captaincy position available,” he added.

Steve Smith and Pat Cummins will be seen in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. Pacer Pat Cummins will play for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) while Steve Smith will represent Delhi Capitals.

Usman Khawaja of Australia celebrates scoring his century during game five of the One Day International series between India and Australia at Feroz Shah Kotla Ground on March 13, 2019 in Delhi, India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Usman Khawaja of Australia celebrates scoring his century during game five of the One Day International series between India and Australia at Feroz Shah Kotla Ground on March 13, 2019 in Delhi, India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
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No Reason Why Steve Smith Shouldn’t Be In Line For Captaincy: Usman Khawaja

Usman Khawaja has called for former Australian skipper Steve Smith to again captain Australia once Tim Paine’s tenure ends. Tim Paine took over as Australia captain from Steve Smith in 2018 after the duo of Steve Smith and David Warner were banned for ball tempering offence for a year from international cricket.

The Queensland skipper said if Steve Smith who was stripped of the Test captaincy after the South African sandpaper scandal again wanted the job, it should go to him, despite some calls among ex-players and fans for vice-captain Pat Cummins or batting sensation Marnus Labuschagne to succeed Tim Paine.

Usman Khawaja
Usman Khawaja. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Usman Khawaja: Steve Smith Should Captain Australia If He Wants To Do So

Steve Smith might replace Tim Paine as the skipper if there is no other option available for Australia in the aftermath of their humiliating defeat against India in the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar 4 Test series earlier this week by a margin of 2-1.  Tim Paine has led Australia in 23 Tests since succeeding Steve Smith in 2018, winning 11 and losing 8 games with 4 draws. Steve Smith had won 18, lost 10 and drawn 6 Tests when he led Australia from 2014 to 2018.

“If Steve Smith wants to captain Australia, I think he should captain Australia,” Khawaja said.

“He’s our number one batsman, he’s done it before, he’s paid for his mistakes, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be in line for the captaincy if wants to do it.”

Usman Khawaja said there had been no discussions among the Queensland hierarchy about batsman Marnus Labuschagne taking over the Queensland Bulls captaincy to prepare him for the possibility of him leading Australia in the future. He added that Marnus Labuschagne had not approached him for any captaincy or leadership tips.

Steve Smith celebrates reaching his century in Australia’s comfortable win over India in the first ODI at the SCG. Photograph: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images
Steve Smith celebrates reaching his century in Australia’s comfortable win over India in the first ODI at the SCG. Photograph: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images

The pair will be key to the Queensland Bulls’ hopes of winning their Sheffield Shield clash against Western Australia starting on Saturday at the Gabba.

Usman Khawaja Felt Nice To Get Support From Ex Skipper Michael Clarke Who Called For The Left Hander’s Recall

Usman Khawaja brings great form into the match after scoring an unbeaten 115 in Queensland’s three-wicket win over Tasmania at Blundstone Arena last month. It’s his form that has led to former Test captain Michael Clarke calling for the 34-year-old left-hander to be recalled to the Australian team. Usman Khawaja, who has scored 2877 runs in 44 Tests at an average of 40.66, has not played for Australia since August 2019.

“It’s always nice to get support from an ex-Test captain. He’s a gun player himself, but I don’t read too much into it,” Khawaja said.

“I feel good. All season actually I’ve felt really good. Sometimes that always doesn’t translate to runs. You can’t get too relaxed on yourself and think that things are going to work out. There’s still a lot of hard work to be done. When things are going well, you just try to keep doing the same thing for as long as you can, because there are plenty of time when things don’t go well, no matter who you are. Hopefully I can keep getting runs for Queensland and we can win more games.”

The Queensland Bulls currently top the Sheffield Shield ladder but are wary of a West Australian side containing Test all-rounder Cameron Green.

“WA play quite well here too most times. They have a similar wicket at home, they have a bouncy track, and I think out of all the teams, they handle these (Gabba) conditions as well as anyone,” Usman Khawaja said.

Cameron Green
Cameron Green. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

“(Green) batted beautifully last year in the second innings here … he’s going to be a big one.”

Usman Khawaja scored an unbeaten 115 against Tasmania in his last first-class game and followed it up with 93 against the same opposition in List A-game. Cameron Green recently scored unbeaten 168 against South Australia in his last First-Class game and then 144 against the same opposition in List A.

Cameron Green scored his first one-day hundred from 82 balls, powering the latter part of Western Australia’s innings with some fierce strokeplay, but Travis Head responded in kind with a brilliant 68-ball century as West Australia won by 13 runs in a 725 run affair. Shaun Marsh and Harry Nielsen too struck tons.

Steve Smith's 18th Test ton pushed him to 933 ICC rankings points – the sixth-highest of any batsman in history. (Photo: AFP)
Steve Smith's 18th Test ton pushed him to 933 ICC rankings points – the sixth-highest of any batsman in history. (Photo: AFP)
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Steve Smith Excited About Joining Delhi Capitals In IPL 2021

Steve Smith, the Australian batsman is hopeful of guiding Delhi Capitals (DC) to its maiden title triumph in the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) as he is delighted to join last edition’s runners-up Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021.

The 31-year-old, who was released by Rajasthan Royals (RR), was acquired by Delhi Capitals for Rs 2.2 crore at the IPL auctions, last week.

Steve Smith of Rajasthan Royals
Steve Smith of Rajasthan Royals Photo Credit: AFP

Steve Smith Really Excited About Joining Delhi Capitals

Steve Smith scored 311 runs in 14 games averaging a modest 25.91 with 3 fifties at a strike rate of 131.22 in IPL 2020. The prolific right-hand batsman, who joined the Rajasthan Royals franchise in 2019, captained the side in the 2020 edition in the UAE, where they finished last.

“I am really excited about joining the team this year. I think the squad has a great set of players and has a great coach and I look forward to getting over there and creating some amazing memories, and hopefully, help the team go one better than last year. Can’t wait guys,” Steve Smith said.

Michael Clarke with Steve Smith. Picture: Mark Brake
Michael Clarke with Steve Smith. Picture: Mark Brake

The Australian has scored 2,333 runs in 95 matches at an average of 35.34 in the IPL. Earlier, Michael Clarke, former Australian skipper has opined that the former RR captain who was bought by DC for Rs 2.2 crore in IPL 2021 auction, might not leave his family and partner for such a low price.

Steve Smith Will Reunite With His 2011 World Cup Skipper Ricky Ponting Who Is Head Coach Of Delhi Capitals

The batsman had a fantastic season for the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant in IPL 2017 when he amassed 472 runs in 15 matches. In 2019, he scored 319 runs in 12 games but failed to replicate that success in IPL 2020 which led to his ouster from the franchise.

At Delhi Capitals, Steve Smith will reunite with his 2011 World Cup captain Ricky Ponting, who is the head coach of the side.

The Delhi Capitals boast of a strong batting line-up with the likes of Rishabh Pant, Shikhar Dhawan, Marcus Stoinis, and Shimron Hetmyer in their ranks, and the former Australian skipper may not even be a sure-shot starter in all 14 matches.

Umesh Yadav. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Umesh Yadav. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Steve Smith, Umesh Yadav (Rs 1 crore), Ripal Patel (Rs 20 lakh), Vishnu Vinod (Rs 20 lakh), Manimaran Siddharth (Rs 20 lakh), Lukman Meriwala (Rs 20 lakh) were some of the players added to their squad and the latest acquisitions will boost the team.

Steve Smith was bought by the Delhi-based franchise for Rs 2.2 crore, while experienced T20 players Tom Curran and Sam Billings were bought for Rs 5.25 crore and Rs 2 crore respectively.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith- Photograph: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images
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RCB Reveal Why They Made A Single Bid For Steve Smith In IPL 2021 Auction

RCB (Royal Challengers Bangalore) has revealed why they came up with a single bid for former Australian captain Steve Smith at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 auction.

Ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 auction, Rajasthan Royals (RR) made a bold move by not only removing Steve Smith as the captain of the franchise but also releasing him into the auction pool.

Steve Smith Photo Credit: AFP
Steve Smith Photo Credit: AFP

Royal Challengers Bangalore Came Up With The First Bid For Steve Smith But Pulled Out After Getting Counter Bid From Delhi Capitals

Steve Smith entered the auction pool as one of the batsmen to watch out for and he was thought to acquire big bucks. His name was called out early in the auction after Alex Hales and Jason Roy went unsold.

Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) came up with the first bid for the former Australian captain at his base price of Rs 2 crore.  He immediately got a counter bid from Delhi Capitals (DC). RCB then took everybody by surprise by pulling out of the bid as Steve Smith eventually went to DC for Rs 2.2 crore.

RCB’s pulling out after making just one bid for Steve Smith became a major discussion debate as it left the fans and experts surprised but the franchise has now shared a video as a part of its mock auctions where RCB Director of Cricket Operations, Mike Hesson made a strategy to make the first bid for Steve Smith.

Mike Hesson will look to take RCB to the IPL Trophy | RCB
Mike Hesson will look to take RCB to the IPL Trophy | RCB

In the mock auction, Mike Hesson came up with the strategy to start the bidding process for Steve Smith and then pull out as he said no franchise would let RCB have Steve Smith at his base price of Rs 2 crore.

“I am not sure if anybody is going to bid for him in the first round. The best thing we can do is make a bid for Smith early and then move out. So if CSK buys him, they cannot buy Maxwell. They are the only ones at the moment who can outclass us for Maxwell. We need to confirm that we are comfortable making that first bid for Steve Smith. I think if we bid for him straightaway, no team is going to let us get him for 2 crores,” he said.

“So post auction, if Steve Smith goes for more than 4 crores, I am going to have a nice meal with a couple of drinks. If he goes for less than 4, I will pay. If he goes for more than 4 crores, you pay,” Hesson added.

Mike Hesson was spot on with his prediction as Steve Smith was bought by Delhi Capitals for Rs 2.2 crore as none of the other franchises made a bid for him.

Steve Smith May Not Leave Family For Low Price Of INR 2 Crore: Michael Clarke

Chris Morris, the South African pacer who was released by RCB ahead of the auction, emerged as the costliest player in the IPL auction history as he was bought by Rajasthan Royals for a record sum of Rs 16.25 crore. RCB spent a lot of money to buy Glenn Maxwell (14.25 crore) and Kyle Jamieson (15 crores) at the auction.

Sharing his views on the Big Sports Breakfast Podcast, former Australian captain Michael Clarke said he doesn’t see Steve Smith staying away from his family for 11 weeks for just Rs 2.2 crore.

“For him to go away for an eight-week tournament and quarantine before the tournament starts – call it 11 weeks. I don’t think he is going to give up 11 weeks away from his family and his partner for $380,000,” Clarke said.

Michael Clarke with Steve Smith. Picture: Mark Brake
Michael Clarke with Steve Smith. Picture: Mark Brake

Steve Smith was released by RR ahead of the IPL 2021 auction as Sanju Samson replaced him as the captain of the team. Steve Smith registered himself in the INR 2 crore price bracket after being released by Rajasthan Royals. He scored only 311 runs averaging a modest 25.91 in 14 IPL games in IPL 2020 held at UAE.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith- Photograph: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images
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Steve Smith May Not Leave Family For Low Price Of INR 2 Crore: Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke, former Australian skipper has opined that Steve Smith, the former RR captain who was bought by DC for Rs 2.2 crore in IPL 2021 auction, might not leave his family and partner for such a low price.

Michael Clarke has reckoned that Delhi Capitals‘ new recruit Steve Smith might not leave his family and partner and turn up for the upcoming edition of IPL because of his low Rs 2.2 crore auction price.

Michael Clarke with Steve Smith. Picture: Mark Brake
Michael Clarke with Steve Smith. Picture: Mark Brake

Michael Clarke: Steve Smith’s T20 Performances Haven’t Been Good To His Liking

He added that Steve Smith’s low bidding in the Chennai auction came as a surprise to the Australian and the 39-year-old added that one should not be surprised if the former Rajasthan Royals captain ‘pulls a hamstring injury’ days before boarding the flight to India.

“You talk about Steve Smith if he’s not the best batsman in the world, he’s not far away. Virat Kohli is number one, but Smithy is in the top three,” Clarke said on the Big Sports Breakfast Podcast.

“I know his T20 performances haven’t been as good as he would have liked last year’s IPL he wasn’t great. I’m very surprised he has gone for the amount of money he has, just under $400,000 which is still good money.”

Glenn Maxwell has had a 168% increase in his salary. ©Getty
Glenn Maxwell has had a 168% increase in his salary. ©Getty

“But when you look at what he was getting (last season) and his role as captain of Rajasthan, don’t be surprised if there’s a little hamstring strain the day the plane is meant to fly to India.

“For him to go away for an eight-week tournament and quarantine before the tournament starts call it 11 weeks. I don’t think he is going to give up 11 weeks away from his family and his partner for $380,000,” Clarke added.

Glenn Maxwell of Australia was sold to Royal Challengers Bangalore for INR 14.25 Crore whereas Chris Morris was sold to Rajasthan Royals for a steep INR 16.25 crore creating new records as the most expensive buys ever in the history of IPL since 2008.

Kyle Jamieson was acquired by RCB for INR 15 Crores while Jhye Richardson acquired a bid of INR 14 Crores and was sold to Punjab Kings. Uncapped Hobart Hurricanes seamer Riley Meredith became the costliest overseas uncapped player earning 8 crores.

Michael Clarke Interested To See If Steve Smith Doesn’t Go To India To Participate In IPL 2021

Further, former skipper Michael Clarke said that he was also interested to see if Steve Smith decides to participate and prove people wrong.

“I’m really interested to see if he gets a tight hamstring and doesn’t go. Or if it goes the other and he says I do wan’t to go and play in this T20 World Cup and I do want to get picked up for more money in the next IPL. I am going to go there, I don’t care for the money and will prove people wrong.”

Steve Smith AFP
Steve Smith Photo Credit: AFP

Steve Smith was released by RR ahead of the IPL 2021 auction as Sanju Samson replaced him as the captain of the team. Steve Smith registered himself in the INR 2 crore price bracket after being released by Rajasthan Royals. He scored only 311 runs averaging a modest 25.91 in 14 IPL games in IPL 2020 held at UAE. Delhi Capitals signed him up without facing any challenge from the other franchises in IPL 2021 auction.

Pat Cummins, Ashes 2019
Pat Cummins (Image Credit: Google)
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Pat Cummins Would Love To Captain Australia But Haven’t Got Much Experience

Pat Cummins has explained that he is open to the idea of leading the Australian team in the future. But the pacer was quick to admit that he needs to gain some experience in that regard before taking up the new role.

Australia recently suffered a 2-1 series defeat against an injury-ridden Indian side in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy following which Tim Paine’s captaincy was criticized by experts.

Pat Cummins.
Pat Cummins. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Pat Cummins Haven’t Got Too Much Experience Of Captaining

Since then, several former cricketers and cricketing experts have called for Tim Paine to step down as the captain of the Australian Test team. Pat Cummins, who is presently Tim Paine’s deputy in Test squad, is in line to be the next Aussie skipper in the longest format of the game.

Tim Paine
Tim Paine. Image Credit: Getty Images.

When asked if he would like to captain the Australian Test team, Pat Cummins responded that he would love to do so but he hasn’t got much experience as he has captained a few warm-up games previously only apart from captaining Under-16 side.

“Absolutely – at the moment I haven’t got too much experience at all, just a couple of warm-up games in England and other than that it’s Under-16s cricket when I last captained. So for sure it’s something that’s going to be more on the radar. Even to increase my experience as vice-captain if I ever need to step in or help out Painey or Finchy, I think it is something I’d like to have a crack at to find out either way, whether I enjoy it, whether I’m no good at it or whether I find it manageable.”

Greg Chappell, former Australian cricket captain threw his support behind Tim Paine as he claims that it is still not the time to be jettisoning Australia’s captain. Tim Paine’s captaincy and wicketkeeping were thrown into the spotlight and were criticized following last week’s shock 2-1 series loss to an injury-hit second-string India.
Michael Clarke had questioned national selector Trevor Hohns for not finding anything wrong with current skipper Tim Paine’s leadership as he was retained as skipper for South Africa Tests which was postponed later. Mitchell Johnson backed skipper Tim Paine to continue as Australia’s captain, and believed that calls for him to be dropped are “ridiculous.”

Pat Cummins Admits Changes Needed In His Game If Handed Captaincy Role

Pat Cummins also reflected on the fact that he needs to alter his game if he is indeed handed the captaincy role. The pacer insisted that he currently tones down his mental focus scale when he is not bowling. But that can’t be the case if he is the skipper as he always has to be mentally switched on.

“I think that would be the big one, at times, just the nature of not having to totally switch on, you take the opportunity to switch off. That’d probably be the biggest change, but whether that’s a dealbreaker or not, I’d have to try it first I think. Naturally you try to stay pretty involved in a game, so always thinking about the game in the background. Just taking that extra step to be a decision-maker, it might be a small step or a big step, but keen to give it a crack and see how it goes,” Pat Cummins added.

Pat Cummins.
Pat Cummins. Image Credit: Getty Images.
Australia’s three-match Test tour of South Africa was postponed over coronavirus fears. As a result, New Zealand became the first team to qualify for the ICC World Test Championship final. However, Australia can still reach the showpiece event at Lord’s later this year, depending on the outcome of the India-England series.
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