Michael Clarke has intensified his criticism of Australia’s cricket selectors by pleading with them to urgently return Steve Smith and urging that the star be included in the ICC T20 World Cup 2022.
The 2015 World Cup champion captain has been baffled by selection decisions over the past two weeks as Australia has experimented with their starting lineup since returning from India.
Given that Cameron Green is not currently a member of Australia’s World Cup squad, Clarke specifically referred to the decision to open with Cameron Green as a “mistake” and claimed that captain Aaron Finch should have been opening all along, with changes being made as little as possible so close to the competition.
Michael Clarke Concerned About Opportunities Cameron Green Is Getting
“They’ve made a mistake in not picking Cameron Green,” Michael Clarke said on the Big Sports Breakfast. “It’s as simple as that.
“My only concern is they’ve been giving Cameron Green every opportunity, I don’t know why they haven’t given Steve Smith that opportunity.
“Steve Smith can open the batting in T20 cricket. He’s in the squad, he’s a big chance of playing in this World Cup so surely you need him batting, making runs (and) in form, at this stage Cameron Green’s not in the World Cup. That’s what has been a little strange.”
Against Zimbabwe and New Zealand, Smith scored runs to get the home season off to a fast start.
In the first game of the away T20 series, he supported the innings by hitting 35 from 24 against India, but in his last three innings, he has failed to surpass 20.
Being left out of the first T20 against the West Indies last week and then being left out of Australia’s XI against England in Perth despite travelling to West Australia may not have helped his rhythm.
The 33-year-old Smith, who was more of a conventional batter surrounded by powerful all-rounders, received harsh treatment, according to Clarke, who felt that the player still had plenty to offer and was an important part of the team.
“Like, they took Steve Smith to Western Australia. Flew him to Perth to make him 12th man – that’s not right,” Clarke said.
“And don’t tell me Steve Smith has to bat No.3 or No.4.
“If he opens the batting, he will be the leading run-scorer in the T20 World Cup. He’s still that good a player.”
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Steve Smith Can Save You A Game: Michael Clarke
The great selection conundrum was who bats at No. 4, according to Michael Clarke, who played for Australia in the 2010 T20 World Cup final, lost two ODI World Cups, and occasionally opened the batting.
The right-ability hander to lead the team out of difficulty might pay off for the game when they lose early wickets, the former Australian captain pleaded with selectors. He believed T20 cricket required more than big hitters.
“The number four position is the unknown … who’s batting at four,” Michael Clarke said.
“If it’s Smitty, you’ve got to give him some cricket. As good as he is, I’d rather him walk out in the first game in the first World Cup game with some form, with some runs under his belt.
“I think that’s the position that they’re unsure of at the moment and that’s really going to come down to the style.
“My reason always for (including) someone like a Steve Smith in your team is because not all conditions are the same, if we lose two for not many, you’ve got one of the world’s best batsmen coming in,” he said.
“Steve smith can save you a game as well, he can find you a way of getting to 170 and have a total to defend rather than being bowled out for 100.
“I still think in T20 cricket you need one of those players in your top six batsmen.”
Michael Clarke Questions Aaron Finch Batting At No.4
Meanwhile, Michael Clarke was perplexed as to why Green had been given valuable opportunities and not Finch while batting first in recent games.
“Even playing around with Finchy, why’s he batting at number four if he’s going to open in the World Cup?” Michael Clarke said. “That’s silly to me.
“Five games out from a World Cup, you’ve got to try and stabilise everything.”
Following Sunday’s eight-run loss to England, Finch stated to Fox Cricket that he is likely to move back to the top of the order for the remainder of the series.