The Courier-Mail

FROM BAD TO DESPICABLE

DAY FOUR HIGHLIGHTS Aussies finally win something

- JEREMY PIERCE

AUSTRALIA’S Test cricketers have found a victory to celebrate – winning soft toys at the local fair on what should have been the fourth day of the fourth Ashes Test.

As the fallout from Australia’s worst Ashes performanc­e in 80 years continued yesterday, new vice captain David Warner took to social media to boast: “Yes we did it!!! We finally won.” In an attached photo he

poses with bowler Peter Siddle and two Minion soft toys – the yellow creatures from thehe e Despicable Me movies.

Disappoint­ed fans seized on the timing of Warner’s carefree social media post, as well as coach Darren Leh-

mann’s public request for tickets to a Premier League soccer game yesterday (inset).

The Courier-Mail yesterday revealed a rift in the touring team due to a feud between two wives, and

retiring captain Michael Clarke’s reluctance to socialise with teammates. Clarke yesterday issued an expletive-laden denial that there was any disharmony. But three Queensland legends told how Clarke – despite a solid on-field record – had always polarised the dressing room during his decade in the team.

Former Australian coach John Buchanan said Clarke never tried to understand the team culture. Retired stars Andrew Symonds and Matthew Hayden said he had often “ruffled feathers” and was not a natural leader.

QUEENSLAND cricket legends have joined Australia’s most successful coach in unleashing a tirade on Michael Clarke, saying the divisive outgoing skipper was never a team player.

The savage assessment from former Australian teammates Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds along with ex-coach John Buchanan comes a day after The CourierMai­l revealed Clarke often refused to travel on the team bus and almost never socialised with teammates.

Clarke denied the claims and played a straight bat to rumours of a rift within the team sparked by feuding WAGs.

Buchanan praised Clarke’s contributi­on to the game but agreed with Hayden and Symonds that the cricketer polarised the dressingro­om.

Australian legend Hayden yesterday made the stunning revelation that Clarke once threatened to hand back his baggy green cap if he was forced to field at bat-pad.

Buchanan coached Clarke at the start of his Test career but Clarke was not made captain until four years after Buchanan quit.

He feels the cherished baggy green culture that spanned back to Australia’s first Test match in 1877 was diminished under Clarke.

“Players like Steve Waugh, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and others really tried to make the baggy green culture something special but I could sense it was under threat and under Michael’s captaincy I can sense it has disappeare­d a bit and that disappoint­ed me,’’ he said.

“It was almost as if Clarke was destined to be captain and he never was a silent partner – he had strong opinions and the good thing was that meant if he saw something he did not agree with he would certainly speak up about it.

“If he finished games early, Michael would often leave early. I can remember guys like Hayden and Langer sitting him down in a corner and trying to get him to understand what we were trying to achieve. There were times when I felt Michael did not understand or did not want to understand.”

Hayden gave an incredible insight into how Clarke could be a divisive figure, telling how Simon Katich was injured in a Sydney Test and Clarke had not wanted to field at bat-pad.

“We needed someone and usually it goes to the youngest in the side,’’ Hayden told Brisbane’s Triple M Radio

“He (Clarke) said: ‘If I have to wear that, I will hand my baggy green back’.

“The thing is it’s an indictment on Michael.”

Under-siege Clarke has rubbished reports of upheaval in the camp, claiming talk of splits between players and WAGS was a “load of &**”.

Former teammates Hayden and Symonds said Clarke ruffled feathers.

“He had a hot head, he wore his heart on his sleeve and he had a very definite opinion of who he was and where he wanted to go,’’ Hayden said.

“Sometimes those (Clarke’s opinions) ruffled feathers, I know for a fact that they ruffled mine at times.’’

Clarke and Queensland­er Symonds were great mates before falling out spectacula­rly. “To me he (Clarke) wasn’t as natural a leader as we’ve had in the past,” Symonds told Channel Nine yesterday.

“I did some silly things in my time but there was a number of things I didn’t agree with and still don’t that Michael does and says.”

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 ??  ?? OLD TIMES: Buchanan, Clarke and (below) Hayden
OLD TIMES: Buchanan, Clarke and (below) Hayden

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