2015: Michael Clarke's captaincy to be reviewed as
Ashes defeat looms for Australia
- 7th August 2015
AUSTRALIA'S HOPES SUNK AT TRENT BRIDGE
does 60 all out in 18.3 overs rank in the hall of
shame of Australian batting? Jesse Hogan and Greg
Baum digest Australia's calamitous day in Nottingham
which ended with them trailing England by 214 runs.
Australia powerbrokers are set to discuss the future
of Michael Clarke's Test captaincy, which is under
increasing peril after Australia's Ashes debacle at
months after leading Australia to a World Cup triumph
on home soil, Clarke is on very shaky ground, his
four-year reign as captain and decorated career in
grave danger of coming to an inglorious end.
shaky ground: Michael Clarke leads his team off the
field after the opening day debacle at Trent Bridge.
Photo: Philip Brown
Media understands Clarke's leadership will come under
intense scrutiny when senior Australian cricket figures
convene for a board meeting on Friday.
imminent surrender of the Ashes will be the trigger
for renewed debate about Clarke's post but there was
already growing discontent among the top brass of
Australian cricket with their on-field leader before
the fourth Test. The stunning capitulation on Thursday
night will only have increased their anger at the
team in what has been a troubled defence of the urn.
is unclear what action will be taken on Clarke but
the picture is expected to be clearer after team performance
manager Pat Howard, who has been on tour, addresses
is well respected by the board and is also a close
ally to chairman of selectors Rod Marsh, with whom
Clarke has been feuding behind the scenes for close
to a year.
the cases of Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting
have shown, a lack of runs does not necessarily spell
the end for a captain but Clarke is in a different
is battling the dual whammy of being a horribly out
of form 34-year-old in charge of an underperforming
team. His continued distance from his charges during
the turbulent tour has also been noted by key decision-makers
body language while in the field on day one was also
heavily criticised by former Test gloveman Ian Healy,
who was irked by their lack of apparent enthusiasm.
a mid-series handover to Steve Smith who led
impressively during the home series against India
is considered unlikely, there is the real possibility
this Ashes campaign will be Clarke's last at the helm.
future as a Test player is ultimately at the hands
of selectors but even if they were to stick by him
and recommend him as captain for the tour of Bangladesh
in October his appointment would still have to be
ratified by an unhappy board.
may yet read the writing on the wall by retiring but
he used his newspaper column this week to declare
"I have no intention to walk away from cricket".
is the latest piece of off-field defiance from Clarke,
who was at odds with selectors in November over how
best to manage his return from a hamstring injury.
Clarke won admiration for his leadership after the
tragic death of of Phillip Hughes, he was again in
conflict with selectors weeks later regarding the
benchmarks he needed to achieve to prove his fitness
for the World Cup after undergoing hamstring surgery.
Clarke will bear the brunt of the Ashes criticism,
Australia's meltdown with the bat has again exposed
their trouble against the moving ball.
and the team's approach to facing spin bowling, was
an issue highlighted by the Argus report commissioned
after the 2010-11 Ashes humiliation.
shortcomings clearly exist at Australian level. They
must also exist at state level because that is where
the Australian players are developed," the report
Australia lose the series, as expected, they will
then have suffered defeats on raging turners (India,
2013), flat pitches (Pakistan in the Middle East,
2014) and on seaming pitches.