India was toughest period of my captaincy: Michael Clarke

Melbourne: Australian skipper Michael Clarke does not regret the infamous `Homework-gate` scandal in India last year but does admit that the tour was the toughest period of his captaincy.

The Aussies not only lost the Test series 0-4 against Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s India but were also hit hard after four players were dropped from Test duties after they failed to complete a homework task given by the then coach Mickey Arthur.

"India by far was the toughest period of my captaincy," Clarke was quoted saying in the Sydney Morning Herald.

"In the build up to that event (homework-gate), there were a number of things that occurred over a long period of time; it wasn`t just that event. Mickey drew a line in the sand and yes, I was a part of it, I stand by that, but I don`t regret it one bit. I backed my coach, I supported him and I believe the decision, especially now that I look back, was the best decision for Australian cricket," said Clarke.

Arthur was subsequently removed from coaching duties and Clarke also had to face his share of brickbats after the drubbing. But the right-handed batsman said that he was more concerned about the team`s reputation.

"I was more disappointed and upset at the fact a team I was captaining was labelled the worst Australian team to tour India; I blame me," Clarke said.

"We said if you want to be a part of what I believe is the greatest team in the world, then you need to be willing to jump on the train and at the time, the whole team was not on the train. So for guys that let us down again, there`s going to be severe punishment."

After resounding victories against England and South Africa early this year, the Aussies are looking ahead to hosting India in a four-Test series in December-January this season. Clarke opines that they are yet to play their best cricket.

"There`s a hell of a lot still to achieve, I think our team is still growing," Clarke said.

"I still don`t think we`re at our best as a group, but we`re extremely proud of what we have achieved. We`ve got India; a tough Test team coming to Australia this summer and then we go back to England next summer for the Ashes, so there`s still a lot of tough cricket in front of us, but we`re excited by that." 

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