Out-of-form Clarke looking for turnaround

Out-of-form Clarke looking for turnaround

Desperate measures: Aussie batsman eyes a change in fortune at the World Cup

The 29-year-old Clarke is desperate to play with the authority expected of an Australian skipper and vindicate the “nice” vote of confidence.

“I would like to lead from the front with the bat and make some more runs. I have had a lot of support from a lot of people over the past few months. I am confident I can turn my form around,” said Clarke, who has made just 70 runs in four matches of the current one-day series against England.

In the Ashes series, he  scored just 193 runs at an average of 21.44.

“Right now, I am copping a fair bit of stick but, when it comes to cricket, it is fair enough as I haven’t been performing as well as you need to perform being vice-captain and captain of the Australian one-day team,” he was quoted as saying by the Herald Sun.

Clarke said he will not change his usual batting order of No 4.

“I have batted No 4 for a long time and think that is where I play my best one-day cricket. It is where Ricky Ponting and the team want me to bat,” Clarke said.

“I think myself at No 4, Cameron White at No 5, David Hussey at No 6 and Steve Smith at No 7 - that part of the order will play a big part in the World Cup, facing a lot of spin bowling on pretty slow wickets.”

Clarke also refused to give up his Twitter habit, revealing it was Cricket Australia that got him hooked on the social network in the first place.

“You will have to ask Cricket Australia. They introduced me to Twitter, organised me to be on Twitter and set it all up for me to get to fans and get as many people watching cricket and supporting cricket as possible. I have enjoyed it, to be honest. It is not a concern at this stage,” he said.

Mentor’s view

Clarke had turned to his childhood mentor and Indian origin coach Neil D’Costa in a bid to revive his batting form ahead of the World Cup. D’Costa told his protege to relax and start focusing on his game as Australia seems to be back on track.

“A lot of captains, at different times... they don’t put their gas mask on first,” the coach said.

“They’re running around trying to fit everybody else’s gas mask. I feel as though, with the team back winning, he can get a little bit of oxygen in his lungs and settle back in his innings and we can see some runs,” D’Costa told the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’.

D’Costa disagreed that captaincy had any effect on Clarke, saying, “I don’t think it’s the captaincy weighing him down. It’s a matter of prioritising.

“He cannot stand the team losing. He just hates it. That’s how most captains are around the world. What happens with captains is they’re searching for what can make his team go in the right direction,” D’Costa added.

The coach, however, reiterated that since the Kangaroos are back to winning, Clarke will soon return to form.

“The team’s started to win and, as a captain, that will make him feel that other guys are starting to be a bit more confident in their game. They seem to be a bit more confident. There seems to be more guys contributing.

“The fielding seems to have improved quite a lot, their catching has improved quite a lot in a short space of time.

“So some confidence has started coming back to the side and with that we’ll start to see the captain starting to make some runs as well,” the coach insisted.

Endorsing David Hussey’s view that the captain was trying too hard, D’Costa said, “He’s looking for runs rather than letting the runs come.”

“As a player you’re desperate to score runs. Right now he’s trying too hard when he bats. Things go wrong when you try too hard. If you just let it flow, things start to fall into place,” D’Costa added.

D’Costa also supported Clarke’s view that his problems were not technical. “Everyone seems to keep attacking his technical features. It’s not always technical, it’s an extremely mental game.

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