Pup and Watson in unlikely alliance

Northampton: Michael Clarke has turned instructor and his star pupil is Shane Watson.
Nanjing Night Net

In a sight that might have been regarded as extraordinary just weeks ago, the Test captain spent more than 30 minutes at a training session in the East Midlands schooling his former vice-captain on his technique to help him avoid being susceptible to leg-before dismissals.

Clarke often works with the younger batsmen in his squad. But on the eve of a two-day practice match against England Lions at the County Ground on Wantage Road he took extended time out to put the microscope on Watson, who was named as stand-in captain for the game.

The pair’s relationship has been well documented, and featured as part of Mickey Arthur’s claim against Cricket Australia with the Fair Work Commission last month before that case was settled. Documents leaked to Channel Seven claimed that the sacked coach said Clarke had described Watson and his faction as a ”cancer” in the team.

There was a noticeable absence of animosity in the Northants nets, however, as Watson took in the captain’s advice from the other end of the practice wicket where Clarke stood at length.

Asked the contents of the mini-lesson, which also involved head coach Darren Lehmann and batting coach Michael Di Venuto, Lehmann said bluntly: ”Probably not to get out lbw, I would think”, adding: ”[Clarke] came a bit early for his session; he just wants to help the young blokes out, which is good.”

Watson, of course, does not fit into the definition of one of the ”young blokes”. He is 32, the same age as Clarke. But after being successfully targeted by England’s bowlers as a candidate for lbw earlier in the series – and trapped leg-before again in Australia’s second innings at Durham – he is keen to avoid being a sitting duck.

And with Clarke boasting nearly three times as many Test centuries as the rest of the Australian team combined, he shapes as a fair teacher.

As for the suggestion of any remaining tension between the pair, Lehmann replied: ”I’ve had no problems with them since I’ve been here. They’ve worked really well, they get on well. No dramas from my end.”

Di Venuto said the involvement of Clarke on the coaching side was a bonus. ”It’s outstanding having it come from the captain,” he said.

”I know Ricky [Ponting] when he was around the Tasmanian side he did it with the Tassie boys all the time, and I believe with the Australian boys as well.”

In other news, Tim Bresnan has been ruled out for the rest of the English season with a stress fracture in his lower back.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation