An open letter to Michael Clarke
Dear Michael Clarke,
When the Australian team was going through a rebuilding process in the late 80s, it was since then I became its follower. Allan Border didn’t have the champions like his contemporary best teams during that time, but still, he made his men play like genuine match-winners. Allan Border and Bob Simpson built a strong foundation which proved beneficial for the next generation of captains like Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting. Border and Simpson rekindled the lost Australian culture during that transition period of the 80s which had a long lasting impression among the next generation of players.
I have been privileged to witness the rise of Australian cricket at its helm and the Australian cricket culture has always been one of my favorite subjects. Myself and the world witnessed how the enriched cricket culture of Australia continued to produce champions after champions who were both competent technically and temperamentally. Especially, the never say die attitude and demolishing the opposition in a ruthless manner simply left me amazed.
I saw your maiden Test hundred in 2004. The way you dominated Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh conveyed a message to the world about the rise of a future great who can be Australia's perfect weapon against quality spin bowling.
I was not surprised by your sky-high confidence and the damn care attitude while pummeling the spinners by coming down the track. You were a product of a culture which develops champions and for which such an attitude was expected. Your 151 helped Australia to gain the momentum which proved vital in winning the series in India after almost thirty-five years. Day by day, your stature as a batsman and future leader started to grow.
In the course of time, the team began to lose their aura of invincibility and at the start of the last decade, Australia became a soft target of the opposition teams. It was during that critical period, you were made the captain and you had an immediate impact by winning the Test series in Sri Lanka and the journey since then was good if not an absolute purple patch. Australia did win matches under your captaincy, but that dominating flavor was always the shadow of the past.
Bad times visited soon. India, South Africa and England outclassed your team and the year 2013 was a tough one. But, I never lost my faith in you as I firmly believed that you will make Australia stand on its feet again and I was proved right as at the fag end of 2013, you and your team bounced back in style to regain the Ashes and made us realize how tough you can be. Despite your back problems, you didn’t slow down at all, but dared to lead the team and the World Cup victory was the icing on the cake in your career.
To win the Ashes in England is the dream of every Australian skipper and since 2001, none of the visiting Australian teams have been able to do such. You landed in England with high hopes, but all those hopes transformed into despair as your team was defeated in a disgraceful manner to lose the urn. Yes, I was not ready for such a shoddy display from the Australians and above all, I was not ready to read about the news of your sudden decision to retire from Test cricket. Frankly speaking, I can’t support your decision to retire.
Yes, the critics will support your decision by citing various reasons, but I firmly believe that it was not the ideal time to leave and still, you have a lot to offer to Australian cricket. I felt like, you have given up too early and this decision was quite un-Australian. An Australian captain doesn’t leave the scene in such a manner, but fights back hard to conquer adversity. You did conquer the toughest times and you know how to overcome lean patches, then, why not try again? Was it necessary to take such a decision?
The Ashes defeat has jolted the Australian cricket fraternity big time and to reorganize the team, your presence was much needed. Perhaps, Steven Smith will be the next captain, but is he still ready to lead the team? Your presence would have helped him to develop as a leader, but sadly, Smith might have to proceed without such a support.
I repeat, Australian cricket still needs you.
A cricket fan from Bangladesh