Sydney: Former captain and current Cricket Australia board member Mark Taylor has launched a passionate defence of Michael Clarke, saying his mixed perception is the result of a different style of leader presiding over a team in transition at the beginning of a new era in the game.
Taylor, who captained Australia from 1994 to 1999, told The Sun-Herald he was “shocked by the press” Clarke had received in the past two years, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
He described Clarke as different, but appropriate as the game faced unprecedented challenges to its popularity and headed in a new direction.
Taylor said Clarke was respectful of cricket tradition, well behaved and a good ambassador for the game.
“Michael is different. He is different to Ricky Ponting, different to Steve Waugh, different to Allan Border and different to myself. I think people are finding it hard to get their heads around that. But we are in a new era of cricket,” Taylor said.
Taylor said he had no concern about Clarke’s image, despite it being characterised by fast cars, tattoos, earrings, magazine covers and a high-profile relationship saga.
He rejected allegations that Clarke was unpopular with teammates, saying that rumours of division were standard when a team was under pressure, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Taylor said perceptions of Clarke being stage-managed or insincere were “partly his fault and partly the media’s fault.”