Former Australia captain Michael Clarke lashed out at Australian selectors for their choices for the tour of South Africa, particularly questioning their claims surrounding Tim Paine.
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Even as Paine’s leadership came under scrutiny after Australia 2-1 loss to India at home, chief selector Trevor Hohns said they didn’t discuss Paine’s position. Clarke questioned the claim and wondered why the selectors didn’t ‘give him some help’.
“Obviously you have to make the team first but then the captaincy, it would have been spoken about,” he said on Sky Sports’ Big Sports Breakfast.
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“My question is – so many past players, so many people – the fans of the game – have questioned Painey’s tactics throughout the series. So, you haven’t questioned his captaincy and you haven’t added anyone, whether it is a player or support staff member to the squad to help him with his tactics.
“How does he get better? How does he go to South Africa to improve? It seems like that is an area that he needs help, whether it is extra leadership on the field or extra people around him to help him get better. If you keep doing the same thing you will keep getting the same results.
“Is Trevor Hohns saying they thought the tactics were fine and we’ll be right and do the same thing in South Africa but get a different result? If that is the case, I said they missed a few tricks throughout the summer.
“There’s nothing wrong with sticking with Painey. I like him, that’s great, stick with your captain if you think he is the right man for the job.
“Don’t say nothing’s wrong there. Tactically he missed a few tricks and his keeping was nowhere near as good as what I’ve seen from Painey.
“This is my point about Painey. I’m not saying it is time to go. Stick with the captain, I love that. But give him some help. Allow him to get better in the areas he needs to get better.
“What changes are we making for South Africa to help Painey call it tactically? What are we doing different? We go to South Africa and win and everything is different? That is not how you win the Ashes.”
Clarke also questioned Matthew Wade’s omission, wondering why he wasn’t backed like Joe Burns was. He also wondered why Travis Head, who was dropped for the last Test against India, kept his position while Wade missed out.
“What happened to that loyalty they showed to Joe Burns when it came to Matthew Wade,” he said.
“Where has Matthew Wade gone? You batted out of position for them, went to the top of the order, did the right thing for the team, gets back. I know he didn’t score as many runs as they would like but hang on, one minute we’re hearing ‘the incumbent Joe Burns, support, support, support’ then Matthew Wade out the door.
“I’m confused. Travis Head was not good enough two weeks ago but now he is back in and better than Matthew Wade who was good enough. Did they get the selection wrong two weeks ago when they dropped Travis Head for Matthew Wade?
“Has Travis Head played a game since he was dropped… to fight his way back into the team? So how has he gone back into the team? This is what confuses me and this is why you regularly hear people having a crack at the selectors. They regularly leave themselves open.
“Explain why Matthew Wade is not in the squad, explain why Travis Head is back in, explain how you cannot discuss Tim Paine’s performance. They’re either not telling the truth or whoever is having these conversations are missing a trick.”