I expected Gambhir to be in Test team, says Clarke
Chennai: Australian captain Michael Clarke today sought to play mind-games ahead of the high-profile Test series against India, saying that opener Gautam Gambhir`s omission from the Test squad has come as a happy news for his bowlers.
Clarke said he expected a batsman of Gambhir`s calibre to be in the team and India will badly miss his experience.
"I expected him (Gambhir) to be in the Test team. He is a wonderful player and has played for India for a long time now. I think there are a few bowlers in our team who are happy he is not playing," the Australian captain told the reporters on the eve of their second and final warm-up game against Gambhir-led India A.
Terming Gambhir as a "wonderful guy", Clarke hoped that the left-hander will hit the straps soon and get back into the national reckoning.
"He is a wonderful guy and I really like him and I get along really well with him. If he scores runs, I`m sure he will get his chance with the Indian team again," he said.
Australian teams over the years have been known to start mind-games prior to the series, which Steve Waugh had once famously termed as "mental disintegration" of the opponents but Clarke believes that the game is about on-field performances and not making statements.
"It`s not about what you say. It`s about what you do. As a player, as the Australian cricket team, that`s our goal. It`s no good making statements and comments and not backing them up. I`d rather want people to say less and do more, so that`s our goal. Perform well on the field, that`s all we want."
Asked about his role in leading the batting line-up against a superior Indian spin attack, Clarke replied that success can never be guaranteed but he and his colleagues have trained hard to atleast have a shot at success.
"Reputation is irrelevant, to be honest, especially when it?s my reputation. I start on zero like everybody else. My last tour to India wasn`t anywhere near as successful as I would have liked. I really enjoy the challenge of facing spin but it still gets me out, like it does every player.
"I`ll tick every box off the field in terms of preparation and training and then I will go in and enjoy myself."
Questioned whether he has done an analysis of strengths and weakenesses of his team as well as his opponents, Clarke wnet on the defensive.
"Australian team has no weaknesses at all (Laughs). I don`t think it will be right for me to sit here and tell you what the Australian team`s strengths and weaknesses are and I don`t think it will be fair to give you the Indian team`s strengths and weaknesses either.
"We have to be really focussed just on us and on the areas we need to get better at and not worry too much about our opposition."
Although he admitted that the current Australian team doesn`t have too much experience like it had few years back but the focus will be on performing as a team.
"When you look at the team now compared to when I first came in, we had so many experienced players, so many great players; probably seven or eight players in the team when I made my debut were as good as any seven or eight players in the world. We are a lot less experienced now.
"Yes, every one of us has the same goals, the same commitment, the same work ethic. We know that to be successful, we need to perform well as a team. It`s not about individuals making a hundred or a two hundred or taking five wickets. That`s not going to give us the success we want over a long period."
"I was lucky when I came into the Australian team that there were so many senior players around to answer the questions I wanted to ask and help me with advice and keep my feet on the ground. Now I am a little bit older and a little big greyer, so it's part of my job to make sure I do the same to the young guys coming in."
Due to the opposition of the Indian Cricket Board, the DRS is not being used in the series but Clarke hasno issues regarding it.
"To me, it's about consistency. It's the same for both teams in this four-Test series. Here in India, if we use it, great, if we don't use it, great; It doesn't matter to me as captain of the Australian team. It doesn't bother any of the Australian players."
Although he admitted about having a chat with former skipper Ricky Ponting but didn't wish to divulge any details.
"I spoke to Ricky in Australia but not about this series."
On a lighter note, the skipper informed that he is looking to roll his arm over at the Chepauk.
"You'll see the spin bowling of Michael Clarke ? definitely. In Chennai. Five wickets!"