World Cup

Skill, not emotion, wins World Cups: Clarke

Australian captain Michael Clarke during a press conference on the eve of their World Cup finals match in Melbourne.  

Michael Clarke felt his impending retirement would not detract from Australia’s task of beating New Zealand in Sunday’s World Cup final.

“It’s a special game, no doubt about it, but it needs to be about the team and I want it to be about the team,” he said.

“I just said it to my teammates then. I’ve been the one to come out and say it’s not emotion, it’s skill that helps you win major games tomorrow will be no different. It’s a wonderful opportunity for every single player in that change room to walk out onto the MCG in a World Cup final. It’s a very special event. But it’s no more special because it’s my last game.”

Last ODI

Clarke announced on Saturday that the final would be his last game of one-day cricket. His own focus would not be affected, he insisted. “I will train no harder today. I will study New Zealand no harder than I did last time we played them. I will sleep no worse tonight than I ever do. I’ll be no less nervous before I walk out to bat. The feeling is exactly the same.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to play in two previous World Cups and win one of those. So I know what the feeling is like. Even when I think back to 2007, there was such a build-up about the World Cup final, but the emotion and the adrenaline and the feeling didn’t hit me until after the game when we were celebrating.

“I’ll go and train and prepare so tomorrow I can walk out and play with that confidence and freedom,” the 33-year-old said.

Clarke dismissed the talk of Australia being the favourite to win the World Cup. “I believe if we play our best, we can beat New Zealand tomorrow,” he said. “I don’t buy into the favourites or not favourites. New Zealand have been the form team of the competition. New Zealand have beaten us once in this tournament.”

Clarke was seen in warm conversation with Brendon McCullum as the two captains posed with the World Cup trophy. “I have a great relationship with Brendon,” he said. “I’ll always be grateful for the way him and his team respected the Hughes tragedy and respected Phillip’s family, so that’s probably brought us closer together. But it was more about wishing each other all the best.

Icing on the cake

Australia would not be asphyxiated by the pressure of needing to win the World Cup on home soil, Clarke stated. “It’s about embracing all the great things that come with making a World Cup final. No matter what happens tomorrow, this team has achieved a lot under pressure, a lot of expectation. To be able to make a World Cup final is very special, and if we can win, that would be icing on the cake,” he said.

Steve Smith, who captained the Test team in Clarke's absence, is widely expected to take over as ODI skipper. Clarke lavished praise on his abilities but felt it was not right for him to endorse anyone as his successor. “Smitty has certainly matured as a player and as a person, there’s no doubt about it,” he said.

“I don't think it would be fair for me to go into who’s going to be the next captain. That’s not my place. That’s up to the selectors. Obviously Smitty is somebody that will certainly be spoken about, but I don’t think it’s fair for me to do that.”

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 5:06:54 PM |

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