Amid fears of possible backlash in Australia‘s already vulnerable team culture in the wake of the ‘homework-gate’, former Test selector John Benaud has advised captain Michael Clarke to quit as a selector immediately.
Clarke took over a position in the selection panel on the recommendations of the Argus Report in 2011, but the move seems to have backfired.
The selection responsibilities have put the skipper on collision course with his teammates, including deputy Shane Watson, who along with three others, were axed for not completing a presentation during the ongoing Test series against India.
“Michael Clarke would be better off by not being on the panel,” Benaud was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.
“Mickey [Arthur, coach] might like it but captains on selection panels are never easy and Michael will be finding that out right now.”
“If he’s not [a selector], the captain can say, ‘Well this is the team I have been given,’ but currently Michael has to put his hand up and say he is part of the process that necks blokes,” he said.
“Michael has enough on his plate at the moment without worrying about team selections,” Benaud added.
Benaud said Clarke doesn’t have a strong and successful team under him, unlike his predecessors Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting, and that’s what is turning out to be his main problem.
“It was easy for Ricky Ponting to give advice because he had great teams. Michael is having to dump people,” he said.
“Blokes are going in and out of this team and there is always going to be an undercurrent with players wondering if Clarke has speared them,” Benaud said.
“Just because the Argus Review recommended it [the captain being a selector], it doesn’t mean it’s right.
“When you are winning and the side is going well, there’s no dramas. But if you are under the pump and you’re not playing well, it brings on extra issues,” he added.
On his part Clarke, however, rejected reports of resentment in the side over his selection duties.
“I’ve made it very clear to the guys that part of my job as captain is to be a selector and it’s all about the team,” he said.
“We’re going to pick the best eleven players, whatever we feel that is,” Clarke said.
“My relationship is important but my job as captain of the team is to help us win games and lead. It is never personal.”