World Cup

Clarke not worried about the burden of expectation

The pressure of playing at home, is the widely-held belief, got to Australia in 1992. The host lost four matches and failed to advance to the knockout stages of the World Cup.

Michael Clarke’s lot have already done better by progressing to the semifinals. The captain is not worried that the burden of expectation will grow heavy again.

“You’ve seen the way the guys handled it (pressure) throughout the tournament,” he said here on Wednesday, on the eve of the meeting with India.

“The way the boys played against Pakistan in the final was extremely pleasing. There are expectations because we’re the No. 1-ranked one-day team in the world, because we’ve performed. Pressure comes with the role of playing sport at the highest level. There is no greater expectation than what you put on yourself. I think the boys will be fine.”

Clarke was unsurprised — and unfazed — by India’s fine form through the World Cup. “I said at the start of this tournament that India were going to be one of the toughest teams to beat. My main reason was that they’d been in these conditions for so long. They’ve played so much cricket in Australia. They’ve worked out how to take wickets and score runs. M.S. Dhoni deserves a lot of credit for the way he’s captained his team, especially to be able to turn things around. Obviously they’re at the top of their game at the moment. So we’re prepared for that,” he said.

The team had not changed much since the triangular series, Clarke felt. “They look exactly the same to me,” he said. “They’re just playing some really good cricket. We’ve played a lot of cricket against India. We know their strengths, we know their weaknesses, and we know they’re a very good team.”

Clarke was surprised that India had won only one Test and one ODI against Australia in Sydney. “I thought they’d have had a better success rate at the SCG than that, so that does surprise me. But it probably does show how Australia love playing in their own backyard. It’s no different when we go to India. It’s one of the hardest places in the world to win,” he said.

“We love playing at the SCG, as do India. It has extra special meaning because of what’s happened in the past few months. But in a World Cup semifinal, you don’t need more motivation.”


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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 8:30:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/world-cup/clarke-not-worried-about-the-burden-of-expectation/article7032744.ece

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