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Michael Clarke criticised by former teammates Andrew Symonds and Matthew Hayden

Hayden feels that Clarke's strong opinions had often polarised people in the dressing room while Symonds argued that the outgoing skipper was not a natural leader in the mould of Steve Waugh or Ricky Ponting.

Mathew Hayden Michael Clarke
Hayden revealed a shocking incident where Clarke had threatened to quit from the side

Outgoing Australian Test skipper Michael Clarke has come in for sharp criticism from former teammates Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds, Fox Sports reports. While tributes have been pouring in from various quarters for the 34-year-old who announced his decision to retire from cricket after the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval, Symonds and Hayden have come out with a different view.

Clarke threatened to give back baggy green, says Mathew Hayden

The former Australian big-hitting opener is of the opinion that Clarke’s strong opinions on matters related to cricket had led to issues within the Australian dressing room and revealed a shocking incident where The Pup had threatened to quit the national side.

“I’ll never forget the day that Justin Langer couldn’t go bat-pad because he had head injuries,’’ Hayden said, as reported by Fox Sports. “We needed someone and usually it goes to the youngest in the side.”

”He (Clarke) said – “If I have to wear that, I will hand my baggy green back.”

”The thing is it’s an indictment on Michael. But it’s in the context of this conversation to say that he knew that he didn’t want to do that, he was skilful in other places. But in hindsight, we should have said mate that’s exactly what will happen – we will have your baggy green back and that’s the way it will roll.”

“But he learnt from that, he became a much better person and a much better player through those lessons,’’ Hayden said. 

The 43-year-old didn‘t share the same view when it came to Clarke’s captaincy, though, saying that his opinions had often polarised people and got under the skin of many teammates, himself included.

“He would polarise people. The team is a reflection of people in society it’s no different,’’ he said. “Michael always had really strong opinions and when you’ve got strong opinions and you’re a young fella in the group, he would polarise people.”

“He had a hot head, he wore his heart on his sleeve and he had a very definite opinion of who he was and where he wanted to go. Sometimes those (Clarke’s opinions) ruffled feathers, I know for a fact that they ruffled mine at times.”

Clarke was not a natural leader: Symonds

Michael Clarke Andrew Symonds
Clarke and Symonds shared a great bond earlier on – here’s the pair with the 2007 World Cup title  

Controversial former all-rounder Andrew Symonds also had his say on the captaincy of Clarke, whom he once shared a great bond with before a huge fallout turned their relationship sour. 

“To me he wasn’t a natural leader as we’ve had in the past,” Symonds said, according to Fox Sports. “It was very easy to fall in behind a Steve Waugh or Ricky Ponting when asked to do something. They were the sort of men that didn’t need to say a great deal.”

“Michael’s got a completely different style, which he’s entitled to. I didn’t play a great deal of cricket under him. I played quite a lot with him, but he’s got his style. It’s a situation which will be debated and talked about for quite some time, his style, and the way he’s gone about things over the years,” he said.


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