I had nothing to do with Katich`s axing: Clarke

Melbourne: Empathising with Simon Katich, Australian captain Michael Clarke on Friday said he had no role in the axing of the prolific opener`s name from the 25-member list of contracted players.

Cricket Australia on Tuesday refused to offer central contract to Katich, leading to speculations that the opener`s one-time rift with Clarke led to his ouster.

"When you become captain you don`t become a selector so I had absolutely nothing to do with that (Katich`s axing). That`s a selector`s job. I sent Simon a text once I found out. Obviously I feel his disappointment," Clarke said.

"He`s been a great player for a long time, not just for NSW (New South Wales) but for Australia," he was quoted as saying in `Daily Telegraph`.

"He`s come back before and I have no doubt, if he continues to do what he`s been doing, you never know what can happen in this great game."

Clarke was also excited at young players, especially fast bowlers, getting central contracts.

"It`s great to see some young guys getting the opportunity. Pat Cummins, I think it`s fantastic for him. I know he`s really excited, along with James Pattinson. I think it`s about a mixture of experience and youth," he said.

Clarke, whose first Test assignment as full-time captain will be a tour to Sri Lanka, followed by a trip to South Africa and a home series against India, hoped to earn the respect of his team-mates through performance.

"For me its about performing on the field and hopefully I`ll earn their respect," he said.

"I`ve shown throughout my career that I have always put representing my state and country first and foremost. I love what I do."


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