Daily Dispatch

Clarke puts cat among the pigeons

- By TELFORD VICE

AS IF having to beat a confident South Africa in next month’s Test series wasn’t a tall enough order for Australia‚ Steve Smith’s team could be distracted from that task by the bombshells being dropped by Michael Clarke.

On Sunday‚ Clarke‚ Smith’s predecesso­r as Australia’s captain‚ appeared on the 60 Minutes television programme and was asked to confirm that he had labelled former vice-captain Shane Watson a “cancer” in the Australian side – as had been claimed by former Australian coach Mickey Arthur.

Clarke denied the charge‚ but followed up with‚ “I said that there is a number of players‚ or a group in this team at the moment that are like a tumour‚ and if we don’t fix it it’s going to turn into a cancer.”

He confirmed that he counted Watson among those players.

Clarke was interviewe­d as part of the marketing of his autobiogra­phy‚ which was published on Monday.

In the book Clarke details dressing room disagreeme­nts between players and argues against the diminishin­g role of Australia’s captains since Darren Lehmann became head coach in 2013.

Lehmann is still in that job but most of the figures Clarke mentions have‚ like he has‚ retired from the internatio­nal stage.

But Clarke’s assertions couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Smith is under pressure as captain in the wake of the 5-0 drubbing his team were handed in their one-day series in SA‚ and Australia haven’t beaten SA in a Test series at home since January 2005.

SA begin their tour at the weekend with a two-day day-night match at the Adelaide Oval‚ where they will play the third Test under lights.

TheTest series starts at the Waca in Perth on November 3. — TMG Digital

 ??  ?? MICHAEL CLARKE
MICHAEL CLARKE

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