Michael Clarke makes a power point against Shane Watson, others
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Come on lads, catch it," said Michael Clarke, after the fast-falling leather had landed a safe distance between him and a few other Aussie players. He didn't scream it out, yet it was heard echoing clearly around the PCA stadium — for it was one of only two voices that chirped during the entirety of Australia's fielding drill on Monday. The rest of the group pretty much remained voiceless. And indistinguishably nameless.
The other set of vocal cords in action was that of Mickey Arthur's. Each standing with a separate set of players on opposite ends of the lush Mohali field, Clarke and the South African-born coach barked away their orders — "run faster", "cup your hands", "three more to go". The players, they listened in rapt attention. It had after all been just a few minutes since they had been huddled together and told of the suspensions meted out to four of their mates for not doing just that. Now, even the deaf scrambled for hearing aids.
If there was any doubt over where the power centre, or centres, lay in the current Australian team, then one had to look no further than the ones talking. Clarke, with an incredible run with the bat in Test cricket last year, was likened to earlier Aussie captains who led by example. But unlike many of his predecessors in the past, when the going got tough, he sent the weak going. Suddenly at play wasn't Clarke the hero; it was the resident nightmare in Simon Katich and Andrew Symonds' sleep.
"There are going to be consequences," said Clarke, while speaking with the Aussie media at the end of a long day, supporting his and his coach's decision to axe Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja from the third Test for not submitting in time a three-point team-improvement presentation. "It was a very simple task...It shows a lack of respect for the head coach and in Australian cricket that is unacceptable."
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