Sydney: Oct 30, 2013
Former Australian captain Mark Taylor has hit out at Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke over a simmering feud that he says should have been settled in the dressing room.
Current skipper Clarke was reportedly furious when he learned ex-captain Ponting’s autobiography, released last week, contained concerns about his then deputy’s attitude.
The book also offers a less than favourable appraisal of Clarke’s ill-fated relationship with bikini model Lara Bingle, which ended in 2010 when he flew back from a tour of New Zealand to sort out his private life.
Clarke bristled at a press conference on Tuesday when asked for his reaction to Ponting’s comments.
“Ricky said that did he? Well, Ricky has my number,” he said.
Ponting reportedly responded that Clarke “won’t read anything in the book that he wouldn’t have known about himself or how I felt about it around the team”.
Taylor was captain from 1994 to 1999 before Steve Waugh took over. Waugh then handed the reins to Ponting in 2003.
Taylor, now a Cricket Australia (CA) director, said the players’ differences should have stayed behind closed doors.
“The disappointing thing for me was that this wasn’t left in the change-room and it wasn’t sorted out in the change-room,” Taylor told commercial radio late Tuesday.
“Look, to me it takes two to tango — I reckon Michael Clarke probably could have done more to appease the situation, and from what I’ve seen and read and heard in recent times, there’s no doubt Ricky Ponting could have done more as well.”
He added that Ponting was entitled to write his book “but I’m a little sick of hearing all of it”.
“I’ve heard all these things before. And they’ve happened in sides that I’ve played in where certain characters came in and they were different. Every change-room, no matter how good the team is going, have those differences in characters.”
Taylor also wrote an autobiography but said he left out certain thoughts in the interests of the national team.
“I don’t think the public needs to hear everything that goes on no matter how close a team is or how close you think all the individuals are at various times,” he said.
“There are certain bust-ups at various times and they should be handled straight away, handled properly with adult conversations, and then you should move on.”
In his book, Ponting, who retired from international cricket in December 2012, suggested Clarke is not a team man.
“It never worried me if a bloke didn’t want a drink in the dressing room,” writes Ponting, himself a reformed boozer. “But I did wonder about blokes who didn’t see the value in sticking around for a chat and a laugh and a post-mortem on the day’s play.”