Clarke: We must stick together
Michael Clarke concedes it may be time for Australia to “go back to the drawing board” after surrendering the Ashes 3-1 on home soil.
Clarke, vice-captain for the first four matches of the series and stand-in skipper when the last rites were administered in Sydney, admitted he was disappointed by the results and accepted there would be some soul searching. Yet he rejected calls for wholesale changes in personnel.
“It's been a tough couple of months and we’ve been outplayed in all facets of the game,” he said after England wrapped up an innings-and-83-run win on the fifth morning at the SCG by bowling Australia out for 281.
“England have showed us discipline and execution with the ball, to make the batters play a false shot. With the bat, they’ve showed us how to go on and get big scores once you get a start.
“Throughout this series we’ve been extremely inconsistent. Certain guys have been able to take five-wicket hauls or make a century, but certainly not enough to win a big series.
“The feeling in our changing room has been pretty good all series but like all fans and players we’re not happy that we’ve not been able to do as much as we’d have liked.
“We need to go back to the drawing board and work our backsides off, but this side has a lot of talent. I don’t think [change is the answer]. We need to stick together.”
Clarke has been tipped to take the reins permanently if the selectors choose to move on from Ricky Ponting, who was a shadow of himself in this series before missing the finale with a broken finger.
However, when asked if he expected to be leading the side the next time Australia play Test cricket, Clarke answered succinctly. “I expect Ricky Ponting to be captain,” he replied.
Clarke went on to announce his retirement from international Twenty20 cricket within hours of Australia's defeat, with Cameron White named as skipper in his stead.
“Looking back on this series, my Test cricket isn’t where I want it at the moment, so I guess this gives me the opportunity now to focus wholly and solely on Test and one-day international cricket,” he said.
“I’ll use that time to play more domestic and first-class cricket for New South Wales and become a better Test player.
“I’ve always said Test cricket is the ultimate for me, and this gives me that opportunity.”