Katich opens up on Clarke incident
Batsman turned commentator reveals more details about SCG blow-up with Michael Clarke
13 December 2015, 10:33 AM AEST
Former Test batsman Simon Katich has offered an insight into his infamous dressing room run-in with Michael Clarke following the 2009 Sydney Test.
Katich, who at times appeared to be harshly dealt with by selectors during his 56-match, nine-year Test career, appeared in Baggy Green for the last time in December 2010.
An Achilles injury cost him his spot in the side during that summer's Ashes and by the time he was fit to resume his place, Clarke had assumed the captaincy in place of Ricky Ponting.
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Despite being Australia's best-performed batsman of the previous three years, Katich, then 35, was never selected again.
"I'm extremely frustrated and disappointed with the decision," he said at the time. "I also want to make it clear that I am not the only player who has gone through this over the last couple of years due to an inconsistent selection policy.
"I just hope that something good comes out of this situation because I thought the decision was absolutely ridiculous."
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In 2011, Katich added that the incident in the SCG rooms – when he grabbed then vice-captain Clarke by the throat during a disagreement regarding when the team song would be sung after Australia's Test win over South Africa – was a factor in him no longer being part of the Australia set-up.
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Legend has it that Clarke was keen to sing the song in order for him to attend another function away from the SCG, a stance that led to a confrontation with Katich.
"You don't have to be Einstein to figure out that it's not just the selectors that had a part in sending me on my way," he said. "I mean, to be brutally honest, obviously what happened in the dressing room (in Sydney) a few years ago didn't help my cause."
Katich took up the conversation again on Saturday with broadcaster Jim Maxwell during ABC Grandstand’s coverage of the third and final day of the Hobart Test between Australia and the West Indies.
A conversation about Nathan Lyon’s role as the team’s song-master quickly turned to the infamous SCG incident, with Maxwell probing Katich about what exactly transpired.
"My understanding of it, and it always has been, is that it's up to the custodian of the song to determine that time (at which the song will be sung)," Katich said on Saturday.
"It's his decision – not anyone else's.
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"There was a little bit of a rush that night to go onto the next venue.
"Michael Hussey was particularly keen to stay in the dressing rooms, (and) Matty Hayden was sitting down there in what turned out to be his last Test match; he wanted to savour the moment in those SCG dressing rooms.
"As we all know there was a little bit of a disagreement in terms of when that timing should be, (and) as a result of that I got a little bit ... it bugged me."
Katich added with a laugh that his “Croatian blood” sometimes got the better of him during his career.
Katich also revealed that he returned to the Australian dressing room for the first time since his final Test – played against England in Adelaide five years ago – following the Perth Test against New Zealand last month that marked the retirement of Mitchell Johnson.
"I was very much welcome," he added. "'Boof' (Australia coach Darren Lehmann) and Steve Smith invited me back in and it was good to have a beer with the boys.
"It was a very satisfying moment to be back in there."