Team In A 'Great Place' Despite Setbacks - Clarke

Team In A 'Great Place' Despite Setbacks - Clarke
Team In A 'Great Place' Despite Setbacks - Clarke
©REUTERS / Action Images

Australia captain Michael Clarke is making the best of a bad situation as he prepares what is left of his squad for the third Test against India in Mohali.

After four players were suspended, and with Matthew Wade's fitness still in doubt, Clarke admitted that he doesn't yet have a team, but he hopes Shane Watson will return for the final Test.

Watson, one of the four players suspended after failing to complete a team assignment, returned home earlier this week to be with his pregnant wife, who is expecting the birth of their first child.

"We still haven't got a team at this stage," Clarke conceded at his pre-match press conference. "We're waiting on Matthew Wade to see how he pulls up and will give him every oppotunity before we select our eleven.

"The guys are in a great place. We know how important this Test match is, and we know we have to be ready tomorrow morning."

Following vice-captain Watson's departure, the question of who is Clarke's vice-captain - an issue only if the captain has to leave the field for any reason - has been raised, but Clarke is not unduly concerned.

"I don't think the board has announced a vice-captain at this stage. I will be in contact with Cricket Australia throughout the day but I think, looking at what's happened through the Australian summer in Test cricket and ODIs, we haven't appointed another vice-captain.

"Shane Watson is still the vice-captain of this tour. At this stage he's going home for the birth of his first child and hopefully we get him back for the fourth Test. 

"I know there are a couple of guys, if I have to leave the field for any reason, who can take over and do a great job," he added.

Clarke echoed the thoughts of Mickey Arthur, who has written that Australia now need to play good cricket in a bid to somehow level the series and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

"To say the last couple of days have been challenging would be an understatement," Arthur wrote in his blog on the Cricket Australia website.

"When we sat down as a leadership group and made these tough decisions I knew it would polarise public opinion, but internally I certainly know we’ve made the absolute right decision."

He added: "It's going to be far, far from easy but our new goal is to try and level this series and somehow manage to take the Border-Gavaskar Trophy back home with us."

And Clarke said: "As a team we're certainly in a good frame of mind in regards to knowing where we sit - we know we have to win the next two Test matches to level the series.

"We have to play that positive brand of cricket, which is generally when we play our best. Individually players looked at their games and found areas they think they've had good success in the sub continent and areas where they have to work extra hard to have success in these next two Test matches. 

"I think individually the players are in a really good place, we've used the experience of the two games to help us in what lies ahead.

"As a team the hunger is certainly there, we know where we sit and know we have to win the next two Test matches and we look forward to this game starting tomorrow."

Australia lost the opening match in Chennai by eight wickets before being defeated by an innings and 135 runs in Hyderabad.

© Cricket World 2013

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Fixtures & Results

10th October: T20I, Rajkot
IND 202-4 beat AUS 201-7 by 6 wickets
13th October: 1st ODI, Pune
AUS 304-8 beat IND 232 by 72 runs
16th October: 2nd ODI, Jaipur
IND 362-1 beat AUS 359-5 by 9 wickets
19th October: 3rd ODI, Mohali
AUS 304-6 beat IND 303-9 by 4 wickets
23rd October: 4th ODI, Ranchi
AUS 295-8 v IND 27-0 - match abandoned, rain
26th October: 5th ODI, Cuttack
Match abandoned - waterlogged pitch
30th October: 6th ODI, Nagpur
IND 351-4 beat AUS 350-5 by 6 wickets