Cricket Australia

http://www.cricket.com.au/Global Items/news/2011/12/12/clarke-faces-tough-choices

Clarke faces tough choices

UPDATED 27 December, 2011 4:03PM AEST | by Stu warren 2

As if captaining the first Australian side to lose a home Test match to New Zealand in 23-years wasn't tough enough for Michael Clarke, he now faces the arduous task of helping select the team he'll take into the Boxing Day Test against India in a fortnight.

As if captaining the first Australian side to lose a home Test match to New Zealand in 23-years wasn't tough enough for Michael Clarke, he now faces the arduous task of helping select the team he'll take into the Boxing Day Test against India in a fortnight.



Clarke failed to score during Australia's disastrous run chase against the Kiwis, his wicket tumbling as one of seven that fell for just 44 runs on Monday as Doug Bracewell cut a swath through the Australian middle-order and inspired the Black Caps to victory.


But he wasn't the only Australian batsman to contribute to the humbling catastrophe in Hobart and any of three or four players may have the selectors axe hovering expectantly over their heads.


"To be honest, the last thing I've been thinking about over the last few days is selection," Clarke said post-match. "I've been trying to get my head around trying to win this Test match."


"But now with a bit of time leading up to Boxing Day, no doubt I'll be back on the phone to the selectors to work out what the best squad is, firstly to go down to Melbourne with, and work out the best eleven when we get there."


Opener Phil Hughes, who failed to add to his overnight total of 20 and was dismissed from the fifth ball he faced on day four, seems most likely to be missing from the team that will take on India at the MCG, especially if Shane Watson is fit to return.


But a continuing run of bad form from former captain Ricky Ponting and fellow veteran Michael Hussey must be almost as vexing for the selection panel.


"He (Hughes) is obviously really disappointed like all the batters are from the way we played today," said Clarke.


"He needs to find some runs, it's as simple as that."


"If he's not making them for Australia he's going to have to go back and score some for NSW."


"He's not the only one, though. Let me make that very clear."


Despite stubborn resistance from man-of-the-match Dave Warner, who carried his bat through the Australian innings in making an unbeaten 123, the home side fell eight runs short of the 241-run victory target, a reversal of fortunes from the dramatic win they experienced in South Africa only weeks ago.


"We see the other side of Jo'burg today, don't we," Clarke said.


"We were on the winning side in SA and we lose today."


"It sums up where we're at as a team at the moment. You're seeing some really good patches of individual excellence and as a team we're playing really well in patches. But then you see the other side where we're letting ourselves down with very poor performances."


"We're inconsistent at the minute which is giving us a pain in the backside."

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 12 December, 2011 9:32PM AEST

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