Chappell backs under-fire Clarke

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Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke has endured a torrid time with the bat of late, but Greg Chappell believes he will come good prior to next month's World Cup

Out-of-form Australia stand-in captain Michael Clarke has been given the support of selector Greg Chappell following a week of increased scrutiny in the media.

Clarke has endured a barren Australian summer with the bat, having reached 50 just once to raise questions about his place in the side.

His priorities were also questioned in the local media this week when he was criticised for using his Twitter page to find team-mate Steven Smith a date for the Allan Border Medal next month.

Despite his detractors, Clarke has led Australia to a 3-0 lead in the one-day series against England and, therefore, will have the chance to deliver their first series win in any format since last March when they meet England in tomorrow's fourth ODI in Adelaide.

"We have a lot of reasons to support him at this time," Chappell said in the Sydney Morning Herald. "We've been delighted with his leadership. His captaincy in the first three games has been excellent.

"His strategies, bowling changes, everything that he's done - not least winning matches - has been good, and I'm sure that will only be good for him."

Chappell admitted Clarke's performances with the bat had been a concern, but expects him to rediscover his best form during the World Cup.

"We are pretty confident that Michael Clarke will repay us the same way," he added. "I believe he has got through to the end of the World Cup to sort it out and we are confident he will well and truly will have it sorted before then."

Clarke welcomed Chappell's support and is determined to prove his doubters wrong.

"It’s very positive, it’s nice," he said. "I’ve had a lot of support from a lot of people over the last couple of months which is very nice and that helps.

"A lot of people who support me don’t have a story written about them. I know I’ve got a lot of supporters and fans out there who continue to get behind me.

"I’m confident that if I keep doing the hard work things will change. There’s no better time than tomorrow on Australia Day."

Clarke brushed off the criticism levelled at him this week, saying he was focused only on helping Australia return to winning ways.

"It (criticism) is part of the business. It’s been a great week for Australian cricket more importantly," he added.

"I’d like to lead from the front with the bat and make some more runs, I’m well aware of that, but everyone is in good spirits and we believe there is a lot of room for improvement.

"Don’t get me wrong, I wish it (the criticism) wasn’t there. I wish you never had to face any scrutiny but with our job it’s part of what we do. The most important thing for is that we are winning."

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