Ex-Australian Test skipper Michael Clarke has angrily refuted criticism of his leadership while finding a supporter in former teammate Matthew Hayden.
Clarke unleashed a social media rant on Wednesday night, labelling sports broadcaster Gerard Whateley a “headline chasing coward” for insinuating he had a hand in the cultural failings that led to the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town.
“Perhaps if he was talented enough or courageous enough to make it onto a cricket pitch he would have a better perspective than from behind a microphone,” he wrote.
Whateley claimed the Australian cricket team’s cultural issues could be traced to Clarke’s appointment as captain.
Clarke previously suggested the current Australian team should prioritise playing “tough” cricket over being liked.
In an open letter posted to Twitter, Clarke listed several “facts” pointing to his stellar resum
e as skipper all while playing “by the rules”.
— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) November 28, 2018
He also said many “respected journalists and seniors within the Australian cricket team” had reached out in support of his view on the national set-up’s ethos.
Former opener Matthew Hayden was one ex-teammate to publicly back him despite the New South Welshman’s long-time rival Simon Katich arguing he’d missed the point.
The imposing Queenslander echoed Clarke’s words, saying the team could lose its competitive edge if it stopped playing “hard and fair” cricket.
“You play the game in a spirit that’s a competitive spirit and you don’t play because you want to have a masters in being a good bloke,” Hayden told Fairfax Media.
Hayden said Australia’s cricketers should not be worried about their “brand”.