Sydney: Michael Clarke’s real acceptance as the Australian captain will be come only when he reclaims the Ashes, as he was once unwanted and unloved.
The captain despite scoring unbeaten 329 still has unfinished business to gain complete approval from fans, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Clarke was booed by a section of the SCG when he walked out for the toss against England almost exactly a year ago. After Ricky Ponting failed to recover from an injured finger for the fifth and final Ashes Test, the vice-captain was the automatic replacement. But he was not a popular one.
After his 329 not out on his home ground on Thursday, the highest score made at the SCG, the doubters will be quieter, if not silent.
To completely win over the Australian public, however, personal milestones are almost irrelevant, as they still define themselves by their collective prowess at sport.
Despite Clarke’s undisputed skill with the bat, it was his wicket on Harmison’s slower ball in the last over of the day at Edgbaston in 2005 turned that amazing match and extraordinary series.
Even his best innings, a rearguard century at Lord’s in 2009 and an indomitable innings of 151 out of 284 all out against South Africa in November, could not stave off defeat.
This only added to the average Australian’s impression that Clarke did not have the stature of a leader. To them he was more of a playboy. He was not all that popular in the team either and, despite being vice-captain, he and Ponting did not have a close relationship, the paper reports.
Clarke made an important statement on Thursday when he sacrificed more personal glory and declared with his tally on 329, as he was thinking only of the team and recognized the importance of leaving his team enough time to bowl India out and win the Test match.