Former captain Michael Clarke has slammed the attempts to improve the image of Australian cricket in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal, insisting the team “won’t win a game” without its infamous abrasive attitude. Clarke’s comments, however, have drawn a negative response from former teammate Simon Katich. According to Katich, Clarke has “missed the point”. Test captain Tim Paine also spoke about shaking opponents’ hands before a series and respecting the umpires, in stark contrast to the Australians’ previous conduct.
However, the nice-guy approach did not go well with Clarke, who said winning should be Australia’s top priority, regardless of what anyone thought.
“Australian cricket, I think, needs to stop worrying about being liked and start worrying about being respected,” he was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“Play tough Australian cricket. Whether we like it or not, that’s in our blood.”
“If you try and walk away from it, we might be the most liked team in the world, we’re not going to win shit,” he said.
“We won’t win a game. Boys and girls want to win.”
Katich said Clarke’s approach overlooked that Australia had been “a disliked team for a number of years” before events were brought to a head in Cape Town.
“What’s been forgotten in all of this is we blatantly cheated and the reason we’re at this point now, and what led us to this point, and we talk about the line that was talked about for so long,” Katich said.
“The point is, we were caught for blatantly cheating and we have to rectify that as soon as possible to earn back the respect of the cricketing public in Australia and worldwide.
“We’ve been a disliked team for a number of years through that on-field behaviour and it obviously came to a head in Cape Town.
“It’s a tough battle for this team taking on the burden of what’s come before them.
“They can still play the Australian way in terms of playing competitive and playing fairly, but not going over the top and going across the rules like they did in Cape Town.”
Australian cricket was hit with a thunderbolt when then-captain Steve Smith, his deputy David Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft were involved in a cheating scandal during a Test match against South Africa at Cape Town’s Newlands Stadium.
The Australians have endured a dire run of form since the ball-tampering scandal, losing 17 matches out of 24 in all formats.
They face a tough home Test series against top-ranked India starting in Adelaide on December 6.