Sydney: Michael Clarke has claimed he can`t accept Australia to stay third best in Test cricket, adding he would take every possible step to help his men reach the summit, even if it requires taking hard decisions.
The Australian captain and coach Mickey Arthur dropped a bombshell on the national team by suspending Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson and Usman Khawaja for failing to take part in a peer review of the Test side`s performance.
The move was seismic, unprecedented and could well lead to short-term pain. Legends of the sport such as Allan Border and Steve Waugh have pilloried the hard-line stance.
Clarke and Arthur are not only shaking up the current system, but also challenging established beliefs and the cultural fabric of Australian cricket, and the reward is potentially huge, but the risk is so great it could bring both men down.
Clarke said, a lot of people criticising their decisions to suspend four players don`t know the full story, adding, he doesn`t want Australia to be ranked third in the world. The captain added they don`t accept that at this level.
Clarke added it takes the whole team pushing in the same direction, and it is not about the individual player.
Clarke said the whole team sits on the same level, adding the standards are high, and if any player is not hitting it, there are going to be consequences. While Clarke is not afraid to make the tough calls, he was part of the leadership group that sent his one-time best mate Andrew Symonds packing after the ‘Gone Fishing saga’ in 2008, and he doesn`t demand of someone what he wouldn`t ask of himself.
Clarke said he is the captain but he doesn`t see himself any different, adding they can`t afford to be going backwards with the Ashes coming up.