Former captain Michael Clarke has slammed Australia’s ‘negative’ approach to losing to an understaffed Indian side, saying the hosts, instead of aggressively pushing for wins, appeared to be scared of the loss .
Clarke, however, refused to blame team chief Tim Paine for the unthinkable Test Series loss at home. Injury-ravaged India beat Australia by three wickets in the final game in Brisbane on Tuesday to win the Series 2-1 and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
“I thought we could have been a little negative at some stages throughout because we were afraid of losing against attacking hard and looking to win the game,” Clarke said on Big Sports Breakfast.
Under Paine, Australia took part in 23 tests and only managed to win 11 of them. Two home test series losses to India worsen its record.
Paine, who took over from Steve Smith in 2018 after the South Africa ball tampering scandal, is criticized not only for the 1-2 loss but also for his shoddy work behind the stumps.
However, Clarke said it was the negative mindset that had anchored Australia.
“At the end of the day, whether we lost with 20 overs left in the game or on the last ball of the game, it didn’t matter. We had to win this game to win this trophy.
“I think we should have approached the first ball of this game to the last ball of this game with a little more of that attitude.”
Clarke said there was a time when the responsibility ended with the captain, but that shouldn’t be the case anymore as there are other pros, calling the shots in the Australian setup.
“When I played cricket, when I grew up watching my dad… the captain was in charge of the teams I played on. Thanks to this transition of me captain of Australia, that has changed.
“There was a selectors president who had more attraction, he had become a high performance manager who had more attraction, he had become a head coach who had more attraction,” he says.
“So now who’s driving the bus?” This is my point. “
Former pacemaker Brett Lee also came to Paine’s defense.
“I think since taking over as captain he has shown some really good leadership qualities,” Lee told foxsports.com.au.
“And look, there’s been a lot written about Tim Paine behind the stumps. He has sod a few chances, but who hasn’t? You look at all the keepers in history and I’m sure there are a lot that have had leaner periods behind the stumps.
“With the bat, you can’t blame him. He agrees with Marnus Labuschagne as having one of the best techniques on the team. He stood up and faced the Indian players.
Lee said he couldn’t find anything wrong with Paine’s style of captain.
“His harbor office was really good. Like I said, in Sydney maybe there were other things he could have tried but put yourself in that situation he’s under the pump, he also knocked down a few players, he chances are (party begging) when they’re trying to take those last five wickets, ”he says.
“(He’s a) brilliant goalie, his stick has been exceptional and his captain’s job really rings.
Paine, after Tuesday’s loss, said he wanted to continue as team leader because he had “unfinished business” to take care of.