Sydney: Australia cricket team captain Michael Clarke has opened up on his relationship with coach Darren Lehmann, saying that the mentor is like a big brother and there has always been respect and friendship between them.
Clarke and Lehmann's relationship came under scrutiny in September when the skipper returned home from Australia's ODI series in Zimbabwe and publicly defied the coach.
The pair had been at odds over team selection before a humiliating loss against Zimbabwe and Lehmann wanted it to remain behind closed doors. Clarke, however, said that he had always been open and honest to the media and that's not going to change, Stuff.co.nz reported.
Looking back at the situation, Clarke insisted that their relationship was and still is strong. He said that Lehmann is like a big brother and added that sometimes they disagree but there is always been respect and friendship between them.
Clarke also touched on the controversial homework-gate scandal that threatened to inflict long-term damage on the national team.
Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja, James Pattinson and then vice-captain Shane Watson were all suspended for failing to complete a written task set by then-coach Mickey Arthur, but Clarke said that he had no regrets about his role in the saga.
Clarke said that it was horrible, but added that they were at a stage as a team where something needed to happen or they would have never turn it around.
The skipper said that they were letting themselves down, not representing Australian cricket as they should have been and playing such terrible cricket together that they looked doomed to stay ranked as fifth or sixth in the world.
Clarke said that it was rock bottom, but also where they drew a line in the sand and said that this is where the team's going and if one is not on board, they are not welcome.