Sloppy fielding cost us: Clarke
Adelaide, Feb 13: A couple of days earlier, Australia had held their nerve against Sri Lanka to pull off a thrilling win. But on Sunday the hosts found themselves on the other side of the line, losing to India in a nail-biting finish. Speaking to the media after the match, Aussie skipper Michael Clarke said that his team needed to raise standards, especially in the field.
Excerpts from Clarke’s post-match press conference:
On his hamstring
I am not sure. I’ll probably have a scan tomorrow, and then we’ll go from there. It’s a little bit sore; I have just had some ice on it. Fingers crossed, hopefully everything comes okay. [I was injured] during fielding. It’s the right [hamstring].
On the loss against India
[MS] Dhoni played really well. He is a class player and his statistics show that. He is a very good striker of the ball and you saw that in the last over with that six that he hit off Clint McKay. [We were] probably 20 runs short with the bat [and] horrible in the field. Very sloppy. I don’t think we executed our skills once again at the death.
On Clint McKay
Everyone is pretty down, disappointed. We thought we had a great opportunity to win that game, but you learn from it. We saw the other side of it the other night – against Sri Lanka, we got over the line. Tonight we didn’t so we have got some time to work on things. It just shows we need to continue to try and improve, and continue to work hard.
On the inclusion of Xavier Doherty over Mitchell Starc
Xavier is a very good bowler. He bowls a lot in the Powerplays and opens the bowling for Tasmania in Twenty20s. I always knew he could bowl at the death; he can do a good job, as you have seen tonight. Starcy probably didn’t have the greatest of days so I thought I’d stick with my two best bowlers on the day in Xavier and Clint McKay. I’s disappointing but it’s a game, isn’t it, where you sometimes need a kick up the backside to keep working hard and try and improve in the next game. As I have said, we need to be at our best to beat both Sri Lanka and India.
On the team’s fielding
I think it’s concentration more than anything. If you look at myself, Ricky Ponting and also Dave Warner, we fumbled a few balls tonight, and we are better than that. You can’t blame anyone else when you are not performing as well as you like. We’ve just got to make sure we are concentrating and we are ready for every ball. It’s as nice as a ground as anywhere in the world. It’s a beautiful outfield, very flat. We have no excuses for our performance tonight. We just weren’t good enough.
On Matthew Wade not opening the innings
[…] I think Wadey can play in both areas. He is good against fast bowling; he is good at the top of the order and he is good at the death. He has done that for Victoria. Just a bit of a change in the order; I thought we’d try something else tonight. Did it work? We did pretty well, we made 270 [but] we could have made a few more runs. But that’s the way it goes. It’s certainly not Matthew Wade’s fault that we lost the game tonight.
On whether the lack of concentration was because of too much cricket bring played and whether he needed some rest too
No, it’s international cricket, another chance to play for Australia, and you want to perform every single time you do that. Has it been a long summer? Well it has been a great summer for us so far. […] I can only talk about me personally, I feel like I am hitting the ball sweet, I feel I am training hard and I am really keen to play every game at the moment. Like all the guys – no one wants to rest. It’s just about managing the workloads, and making sure we are putting guys on the park that we think can help us win the game [and] give us the best chance of winning the game. If there is a time that we feel boys are a little tired, we would [rest them] as we have done with Michael Hussey. [It is] just about assessing the team.
On whether the lack of concentration was because of fatigue
I don’t know the answer to that question but we can’t afford to do that against these teams.
On whether they were surprised not to see Sachin Tendulkar in the playing eleven
I think they are trying to manage their team as well, aren’t they? They have played the Test series, and they have done the same with [Gautam] Gambhir and [Virender] Sehwag. That’s for India to decide. I think they have a good squad, whatever eleven they decide to go with. If you are picking your best team, you’d imagine the great Sachin Tendulkar would be part of that. Whatever eleven they come up with, they have got a very good squad and we have to be at our best to beat them, that’s for sure.
On Peter Forrest
I thought Peter Forrest played really well tonight. He showed he has a really good technique against both fast bowling and spin. He has made the most of his opportunity tonight. He is pushing hard for selection in the next game; that’s all you can do when you get a game. When you get your opportunities you try to grab them with both hands and make the selectors [keep] picking you. That’s what he has done tonight.
On the likely changes in the Australia squad
We will have a phone hook-up tomorrow afternoon. We will spend tomorrow talking about that.