We need a plan against spinners: Clarke
After the huge defeat in Chennai, Australian coach Mickey Arthur admitted to being in a dilemma ahead of the second Test in regards to the team’s bowling combination. Michael Clarke, while addressing the media ahead of the Hyderabad Test, gave out little when quizzed over the possibility of playing two spinners.
“The coach, myself and chairman of selectors, John Inverarity, will meet to select the XI in the evening,” was all we got from the Australian captain.
Clarke, however, described the wicket at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium as being similar to that at the Chepauk, and added that it will provide equal assistance to the spinners.
“This pitch has a lot of similarity with the Chennai pitch. This wicket looks like it was prepared quite early and I think it’s going to be quite dry and spin is going to play a big part. Up and down bounce will also be important through this game,” Clarke said.
While being noncommittal on his team’s bowling combination, the Aussie skipper said that on this wicket, he expects India to back their spin-heavy attack.
“I would be very surprised if India don’t play at least three spinners, like they did in the Chennai Test,” Clarke said. “I think they’ll have a pretty similar team. They could bring in Pragyan Ojha in for either Harbhajan Singh or one of their fast bowlers, but I’d be very surprised if they didn’t pick at least two main spinners and Ravindra Jadeja.”
With the exception of Clarke and debutant Moises Henriques, the Australian batsmen struggled to negotiate the Indian spinners, in particular, R Ashwin, who bagged 12 wickets in the Chennai Test.
Clarke, who is the best player of spin in his team, said that the key to play spinners is to have a plan and stick to it.
“Each individual plays spin differently and so I don’t expect anybody to try and play the way I play,” he said. “I have always tried to improve myself and learn from my past experience of batting in India, and I’m still looking to improving. That’s the only advice I’d give to the younger players – to keep learning from their own experiences and those of people around them.
“The most important thing while playing spin according to me is having a plan – no matter what that plan is – and the courage to stick to it. If you don’t get runs and get out executing that plan a couple of times, if you still have the courage to stick to it, you’ll have success eventually.”
Besides the captain, the most experienced batsman in the Australian team is Shane Watson. Despite having given up his bowling for a while, Watson remains a pillar with the bat. Clarke said that while he’d like to have the luxury of turning to Watson the bowler for a wicket, he’s happy to have him purely as a batsman until Watson is ready to bowl again.
“I’d love to see Shane Watson bat and bowl. I think he’s one of world’s best all-rounders,” Clarke said. “I have no idea how close he is to bowling, and that’s completely up to Watto.
“He has decided that he wants to concentrate on batting right now and it wasn’t a decision made by Cricket Australia. As his teammate and captain I support his decision.
“Even without bowling, he’s one of our best six batsmen, especially when in form. It’s completely on Watto if and when he wants to bowl again. But from the team’s perspective, I’d certainly want him to contribute with both bat and ball,” Clarke admitted.