Michael Clarke and Mickey Arthur have a wonderful chemistry as a successful captain-coach pairing at the helm of Australian cricket. “In terms of relationship, it has been outstanding. Michael (Clarke) has been exceptional. We talk all the time about the direction we want the Australian team to take. He is very experienced,” said Arthur.
While Clarke acknowledged that he might need to contribute more with his left-arm spin on this tour, he added: “My first job is to score runs and lead from the front; that will be my first focus. It is never easy to play India at home, but we are better prepared this time.”
The Australian captain was not willing to commit himself on the batting slot for Shane Watson. “He batted beautifully in both the innings of the last tour game. He will surely be in the side. At what position he would bat, I am not sure,” he said.
While he was aware of the challenge from the Indian spinners, Clarke said the Indian pitches offered something for the quicker bowlers as well.
“You also have reverse swing and variable bounce,” he said.
There has been a lot of discussion over Australia playing one of the three all-rounders on this tour — Moises Henriques, Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell — in the first Test.
However, Clarke said: “Having these many all-round options is great but we do not have to necessarily play an all-rounder. Ideally, I want all the batsmen to bowl and all the bowlers to bat.”
Clarke welcomed the inclusion of Harbhajan Singh — the off-spinner has been involved in on-field skirmishes with the Australians in the past — in the Indian team.
“It’s nice to see him (Harbhajan) is the Indian squad. He’s a very good bowler and a competitor.” he said.
India, he said, was beatable. “I do not think anybody is invincible in any country. England played very well here earlier this season and I followed that series,” he said.
Interestingly, Arthur was the coach of the South African side when it toured India in 2008. “South Africa drew that series 1-1 and the Test in Chennai ended in a draw. Now I am here again, with Australia. We will play our own way,” Arthur said.