Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Cricket

Clarke backed to start a new run in Ashes clashes

By David Clough

Australia batting coach Michael di Venuto has backed under-fire captain Michael Clarke to rediscover his batting touch in the remaining two Ashes Tests.

The tourists trail 2-1 in the Investec series after being hammered by eight wickets inside three days at Edgbaston last week, where Clarke himself was honest enough to admit: "It is time for the captain to get off the plane and turn up."

The 34-year-old has contributed just 94 runs in six innings so far and the likes of Jason Gillespie and Michael Vaughan have suggested Clarke's international career could be in jeopardy if his output does not improve.

Yet Di Venuto has pointed to the upturn in fortunes of England batsman Ian Bell, who ended his own recent nadir with two half-centuries at his home ground of Birmingham, as proof that quality players can never be written off.

"The skipper is a hard trainer and he's doing all the right things," said Di Venuto.

"I guess we saw it in this (third) Test match with Ian Bell - class is permanent.

"You don't lose your class. He (Clarke) is not scoring the runs that he would like at the moment, but you don't play the amount of cricket that he has played not for something just to be around the corner.

"And we are quite confident that he wil come good in this series."

Clarke contributed just 13 runs at Edgbaston although it was a forgettable match for most of the Australian's batting line-up, which was skittled for 136 in 36.4 overs on day one to set the tone for the remainder of the Test.

The middle order was once again exposed in the second innings and Di Venuto admitted their decision-making was particularly disappointing.

"We have to be really precise with our decision-making," Di Venuto said.

"Whether you are going to play the ball or leave the ball, or attack it.

"You certainly don't want to lose your intent to score runs because when there is a bad ball you want to be in a position to put it away, but as soon as the ball is released it's up to the batsmen to make a decision - is he going to play at it, is he going to leave it, is he going to attack, is he going to defend.

"We saw some indecision in a couple of our dismissals, a couple of bad shots so again poor decision making, but there was some good bowling (by England) as well."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph