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Clarke gives licence to attack

Skipper wants his openers to play their shots as they want

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Australian skipper Michael Clarke has given his batsmen the licence to attack.

Talking about how his batsmen would go about their shot selection, and the slog shots that resulted in the quick exit of his openers Matthew Wade and David Warner in Sharjah, Clarke said: “They both have the licence to play their way, whatever that entails. They were both pretty disappointed with the way they got out, but I would not restrain them.”

Warner fell for five runs, while Wade could muster only ten runs in the Sharjah match earlier this week.

“They both like to play across the line and sweep. But in those conditions, they both said it was quite hard because there wasn’t much spin, the ball was skidding on. So they thought they could have had better shot selection. But again they’ll learn from that,” he said.

Clarke warned that if the pair fire, it will be tough for Pakistan to win. “They are two of our match-winners. I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one of them goes on and makes a big score in the second game here,” he added.

For Clarke it was a special day on Thursday as he was named as the captain of the International Cricket Council’s Test Team of the Year. Clarke is not bothered about strike rate.

“These days in one-day cricket, a lot is spoken about your strike-rate. Playing in conditions like this, you’ve got to forget about your strike-rate and you’ve got to do your best to make sure you have wickets in hand at the end of your innings. George (Bailey) summed that up very well the other night. He wasn’t concerned about how many balls he was facing. We both spoke about the fact that, if one of us could be there at the end, we were confident we could win the game.”

After a look at the Abu Dhabi wicket, Clarke said: “I expect the Abu Dhabi pitch to offer assistance to the quicks and the spinners. We may consider spinner Xavier Doherty or leg-spinner Steve Smith for selection.”