Cricket Australia Items/Blogs/justin-langer/2012/2/28/in-praise-of-michael-clarke

Justin Langer

Langer: Clarke’s bat does the talking

28 February 2012 5

On the back of Michael Clarke's landslide Allan Border Medal victory last night, a few people have asked about the influence the new captain has had on the success of the Australian team since he took over the reigns.

In many ways the biggest effect he has had is reflected in last night's medal result.

While his instinctive captaincy style on the field has been enjoyable to watch; his sheer weight of runs has been the stand-out feature of his leadership to now.

One of the traits of our best captains has been their ability to perform brilliantly with the bat. Allan Border was a run-making machine. Mark Taylor not only scored a Test triple century but scored over 7000 Test runs. Steve Waugh was the number one batsman in the world for most of his tenure as captain, while Ricky Ponting is arguably our best since Sir Donald Bradman and Greg Chappell; both of whom are former Australian captains.

The point is that the best captains are usually the best players, or at least players who are on top of their game. 

Confidence with the bat

Confidence with the bat and within yourself usually transcends into calmness and clarity both on and off the field.

Michael Clarke, like his predecessors, has been able to exude confidence and poise and I am certain this is due, in no small part, to his sublime batting.

Through his positive intent at the crease he has led from the front, showing his team mates the style of cricket he wants his Australian team to play. His aggressive approach is leaving a trademark that will excite our fans and inspire our team.

In leadership it is one thing talking a good game. The great leaders back up words with actions and through his performances Michael is offering an excellent example. His deeds far outweigh any words he could ever say.

That said, it is funny how the weight of a person's words multiply the better they become at their art. Through his extraordinary performances with his bat, you can feel with every passing week that Clarke’s team is starting to hang more and more on what he has to say behind closed doors.

He has earned this. 

Respect must be earned

One thing I know about life is that leaders must earn the respect of their men. A title or a badge is one thing but the most powerful badge is earned. Without respect, all the badges or the fanciest titles in the world count for nothing.

Twelve months ago Michael Clarke was given the title of Australian captain. Obviously this carried instant weight, but to his credit he has embraced the position with passion and commitment, and a year later, he is growing and developing nicely.

At 30 years of age, he is exuding mastery as a batsman. This is no coincidence or fluke.  Through sheer hard work and attention to detail over many years the young 'Pup' has turned into a batsman who is respected and admired around the world. No longer a puppy he is more like a fully grown watch dog who is bearing his teeth to the world. 

After a year in the captaincy role, Michael will be the first to concede he has plenty still to learn, but if the journey of his batting career is anything to go by, then there is no reason why his captaincy can't be as equally spectacular.

Time will tell and, of course, there is plenty of work to be done, but when you pair steely determination with natural talent the chances of succeeding are pretty good.

With big shoes to fill the current skipper is on right path. 

Watching him on the stage last night with one of our greatest and toughest captains, Allan Border, it was like the master shaking hands with the apprentice; an apprentice who is now ready to step out on his own to make his mark on the world.

From Melbourne


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
Read more about: Michael Clarke , Australia
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