Under pressure Australian skipper Michael Clarke moved to quell fears over his long-term future yesterday as he stated his intention to continue beyond this current Ashes series.
By Jack Vittles – Lead Cricket Writer – @JackVSport
The fourth Test begins tomorrow morning with England holding a 2-1 advantage after a crushing victory at Edgbaston last week. Clarke has suffered his own travails with the bat this summer – scoring just 94 runs and averaging less than 20. That’s worse than England bowler Stuart Broad’s record with the bat in this series.
Clarke also now holds the unwanted record of being on the losing side in England more than any Australian player in history. He has now lost a record 10 Test matches out of the 20 he has played on English soil.
Clarke was brazen in yesterday’s press conference, saying:
I’m not retiring.
Perhaps the most telling fact was that no one actually asked the question. Does this say more about how Clarke is feeling the pressure than any of his other sound bites?
I haven’t trained any harder over the last two or three days than I would have done since I took over the captaincy. Since I took over the captaincy I have always come to training earlier than everyone else to make sure I get my preparation done before the team arrives.
Ahead of the crucial fourth Test, Clarke maintained that his side were not feeling the pressure:
I don’t think you can build it up too much, I think you’ve got to play your best. You want the excitement that comes with a grand final, but you also want the calmness and freedom to go out there and play like you play in any other Test match.