Oz coach, cricket icons back Clarke to restore `battered pride` by winning Ashes

Melbourne: Australian cricketing legends and the current national cricket coach have backed captain Michael Clarke to restore battered national pride and confidence and have success in the Ashes.

The former No.1 team has been reduced to a laughing stock in England with its drubbing in India and the ICC Champions Trophy, players` suspensions over homework debacles and public altercations, topped by the sacking of coach Mickey Arthur, the Herald Sun reports.

Despite English media labeling Clarke`s men as the worst to tour England ever, however, Australian cricket icons and the coach have backed the Wisden Player of the Year to bring out the team from the doldrums and avenge English taunts with success in the iconic Tests.

According to former Australian captain Mark Taylor, Clarke can lift the players around him and make the Ashes a serious contest, saying that Clarke`s batting has gone from strength to strength in recent years.

Taylor also said that he does not think that there would have been such discussions if the Australians had been winning, as the game is more about results than the reality of what is happening off the field.

Stating that the Australian cricket team is doing fine, Taylor further said that he believed that perception and reality are completely different and that the appointment of Darren Lehmann as coach has brought a calmness and clarity to the side.

Impressed with Clarke`s performance and his captainship, new coach Darren Lehmann said that Clarke always was ambitious, exciting, talented and driven and is looking forward to driving the group in the right way as a captain.

Terming the captain as one of the best batsmen in the world, Lehmann further said that the challenge is to make sure he not only sustains that high level as a batsman but also grows as a captain, adding that the pivotal moment that will ensure Clarke can more fully focus on lifting his side came when the skipper decided to no longer be a selector.

Wicketkeeping great Ian Healy also praised Clarke, saying that the captain has the strength to take Australia back to the top despite the multitude of dramas that have engulfed the side, although he claimed that it is important for Clarke to be an inclusive captain.