Sydney: Australian captain Michael Clarke has expressed his fear for the hype surrounding the Ashes series, starting from Wednesday at Trent Bridge, and insisted that whatever happens in England over the next six weeks should not define him.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the dawning of a new Ashes series is a time for a captain to reach for a piece of history, with either Clarke or England captain Alastair Cook to be an Ashes-winning captain by the end of August, even as they prepare to lead their sides for the first in an epic sequence of 10 consecutive Ashes Tests.
However, the report said that only Cook was prepared to embrace the career-defining possibilities of such a moment, adding that he had even contemplated joining predecessor Andrew Strauss in the pantheon of Ashes-winning leaders and had acknowledged that this is a series with prestige and pressures unlike any other.
Although Clarke has advised his younger teammates, who will face a fierce initiation in warm, dry conditions expected to favour reverse swing and spin, not to be scared of the hype and play with all their might, he himself is wary of the same hype and declined to stake his captaincy on Australia``s results in the series. Stating that he has been told that the series will make or break his reputation as a captain, Clarke, however, said that he does not believe in that fact, adding that he feels that that the real legacy of a player comprises of his performance, career and the entire journey.
Although he said that he understood the perception that a player, especially a captain, gets better recognition on success, Clarke further said that every time he captains his side, he wants to win, adding that a loss will not make or break his legacy as a cricketer. While Clarke will be scrutinised tiredly in a nation that has always been quick to judge him, Cook is under pressure to ride a wave of sporting success to complete a third consecutive Ashes triumph, on the back of Andy Murray``s Wimbledon crown and the heroics of the British and Irish Lions in Australia, the report further said.
However, Cook said that players who are aware of the Ashes hype can deal with the outcome of it very well, adding that even though the cricket stays the same, the intensity heightens considerably.