White hopes for Clarke backing
Cameron White has called on Australia’s fans to stop booing under-fire acting captain Michael Clarke.
Clarke has been the subject of derision from the home crowds this Australian summer following his poor form with the bat.
The 29-year-old was booed as he walked to the crease in Brisbane on Sunday, before top-scoring with 54 to help his side claim a series-clinching 51-run victory.
It was a moment of solace for Clarke, who had only once previously reached the mark against England this summer, as he earned warm applause from the crowd.
Vice-captain White is hopeful that reaction will be the norm for the remaining two games in the series, with tomorrow’s penultimate match to be played in Clarke’s home city of Sydney.
“It (the booing) was a little disappointing from our point of view,” White said.
“It was also interesting to see them cheer him off after he got a few runs as well.
“Michael is a very important player for the team and it’s great to see him back in a bit of form.
“I’d be very surprised if he got that sort of reaction again, let’s hope not. It’s his home crowd and the series is won so hopefully the fans get behind him here.”
Australia’s success in Brisbane ensured their first series win in any format since the tour of New Zealand last March, and White believes Clarke’s leadership was crucial to that.
“I’ve always been impressed with Michael’s captaincy,” he added.
“I’ve enjoyed playing under him and he’s a very good tactician on the field.
“Clearly he’s done a good job in this series and every game he’s captained for Australia.”
Clarke is, however, set to hand the captaincy reins back to Ricky Ponting for the World Cup after the veteran batted for the first time today since undergoing an operation on his broken finger.
Ponting was ruled out of the current one-day series after breaking a finger during the third Ashes Test in Perth six weeks ago.
The Tasmanian tested the injury for the first time in the SCG nets and White said he was glad to see Ponting return to practice, not only for the good of the team, but also because he had started to annoy his team-mates.
“To be honest he’s pretty bored. You wouldn’t think the Australian captain would get that bored. He’s walking around the changing room annoying everyone,” White said.
“It’s great to have a person like Ricky in the changing room.
“He’s been working on his fitness and trying to get his finger right.
“At the same time he’s help out at nets and what better person could you have to try and help you get better as a player.
“Let’s hope for the team’s sake that his finger improves quickly and everything goes well.”
With the current series already sewn up White warned that Australia wanted to win the series 6-1 and said they would be “stupid” to let their performances drop with the World Cup less than a month away.
“If we can get a 6-1 scoreline it would be a pretty big point,” he said.
“It’s two games leading into a big tournament and there are areas of our game we need to work on.
"We probably haven’t played our best. We’ve done well in different aspects but never really combined the bat and ball together. That’s why they are two important games because leading into the World Cup you have to be at your best.
“You don’t want to go in with any questions about your own form or the way the team is playing. We'd be pretty stupid to let our form slip.”