Michael Clarke and Shane Watson during a press conference © Getty Images
Michael Clarke and Shane Watson during a press conference © Getty Images


By David Green


One of Ricky Ponting’s most admirable traits as Australian cricket captain was that in a time of snore-a-thon press conferences, Ponting seemed to say what he actually thought.


New captain Michael Clarke is a very different animal.


Even if he has any thoughts of his own (and we doubt that), he seems more than happy to utter the nothingness provided to him by the faceless marketing people at Cricket Australia – providing of course that anything about himself is in the third person. Anyone that survives a Clarke press conference without falling asleep deserves a knighthood.


Clarke hardly exudes positivity either, so the fact that the man with the worst body language in the team – Shane Watson – has been made vice-captain must be a concern for Australian cricket fans.


Every time Watson runs out a colleague, is given out, hit for a boundary or has an appeal turned down by the umpire he pretty much bursts into tears and looks inconsolable.


That isn’t what the Australian cricket team needs.


The team is at rock bottom at the moment and what it needs is a tough Allan Border or Steve Waugh type character to shake them up, encourage the youngsters, instill character and unity, and ultimately lead them out of the mire.


Instead they have Tweedledum and Tweedledee – two preening metrosexuals who look like they will go crying to Mummy at the first sign of trouble.


Clarke and Watson would appear to be more concerned with moisturizers, tattoos and their own private ‘who can be the most boring at press conferences’ competition than having the requisite skills to lead the Australian cricket team out of the abyss.


It is almost like putting C3PO and Jar Jar Binks in charge of the Millennium Falcon.


It’s a good bet that England will be keeping the Ashes for some time yet.


(David Green is the brain behind the irreverent The Reverse Sweep blog and also writes for a number of cricket publications and sites such as World Cricket Watch. You can follow him on Twitter also @TheReverseSweep. David was a decent schoolboy and club cricketer (and scored his maiden 100 the same week that Sachin Tendulkar scored his first Test ton) but not good enough to fulfil his childhood dream of emulating Douglas Jardine by winning the Ashes in Australia and annoying the locals into the bargain. He now lives with his wife and two young children in the South of France and will one day write the definitive biography of Hedley Verity)