Sport Cricket Clarke hits out at selectors after Zimbabwe debacle
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Clarke hits out at selectors after Zimbabwe debacle

Michael Clarke did not get the team he wanted.
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Michael Clarke made it clear he didn’t get the team he wanted against Zimbabwe, and selectors have been forced to admit they stuffed up in omitting Steve Smith.

Australia had already produced some haphazard selections for this one-day tri-series and have now paid an embarrassing price for their underestimating of the conditions in Harare following their startling loss to the battling minnows.

Injured Clarke to fly home after shock loss

Smith, a proficient batsman against spin bowling also known for his handy part-time leggies, helplessly watched on as Australia crumbled on a turning wicket in both departments to go down by three wickets.

“It was disappointing he wasn’t out there to combat those conditions,” said a pointed Clarke, who was restricted to just one over of his own left-arm orthodox after his hamstring injury flared up again.

Smith’s axing continues a common theme of confusion at the selection table, after Nathan Lyon – the only frontline spinner chosen for the tour – was dropped for Australia’s previous game against South Africa, which they lost heavily.

The only consistency has been Australia’s unwavering faith in a pace-heavy attack, even though results this series have indicated there’s not much there for the seamers.

Coach Darren Lehmann announced Smith and rested spearhead Mitchell Johnson would be rushed back for Australia’s next round-robin match against the Proteas on Tuesday.

However flying over an extra squad member to replace Clarke, who will return home on Monday for treatment, appears unlikely.

Lehmann said he and fellow selector Trevor Hohns were prepared to cop blame but made it clear Australia should have won the match regardless.

“By the end result, we probably thought we did get it wrong,” said Lehmann.

“We don’t expect to lose against Zimbabwe whatever side we put out.

“But we did and … we have to accept the criticism that comes our way as a selection panel and as players.”

Although the Harare Sports Club deck might have spun more than anticipated, there was enough of a form guide to suggest Smith may have been a smarter middle-order selection than fast bowling allrounder James Faulkner, who has only taken one wicket in three matches.

Lyon took 4-44 against Zimbabwe but had little help from part-timers Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch.

Lehmann defended the selection of only one spinner for the tour, arguing if Clarke hadn’t broken down the part-time options would have been solid.