Former Australian captain Michael Clarke reckons the Australian team which faced India in December 2018 was a little too timid and it sucked up to Indian captain Virat Kohli and other Indian players in order to please them for getting IPL deals. Talking on a radio program back in Australia, he said he was surprised to see Aussies not sledging any of the Indian players in that series.
“Everybody knows how powerful India are in regards to the financial part of the game, whether that be internationally or domestically in regards to the IPL. So, I feel, Australian cricket, and probably every other team, over a little period went the opposite – actually sucked up to India. They were too scared to sledge Kohli or sledge the Indian players because they had to go and play with them in April, ” Clarke started dropping the bombshells on his team with this.
“And they wanted… if Kohli is the captain in the IPL, Rohit Sharma is the captain in the IPL, you know, name a list of ten players, they are bidding for these Australian players to get into their IPL team. So the players are like, ‘well, I’m not going to sledge Kohli, I want him to pick me for [Royal Challengers] Bangalore, so I can make, you know, a million US (dollars) for my six weeks’. And I sort of feel that was where Australia went through that little phase of our cricket, became a lot softer or not as hard as what we’re accustomed to seeing.” The World Cup winning captain further added.
Clarke, in the same interview gave a cricketing reason behind why Australia decided not to sledge Kohli.
I feel some players think by winding him up, he might try and play that big shot early out of aggression or frustration. But yeah, I sort of feel Kohli is one of those players that you are better off saying nothing to and just allow him to hopefully be a little bit sleepy at the start of his innings and make a mistake.”, Clarke further added.
These comments from Clarke make for an interesting read given the fact that except for 3-4 players, most of the other players in that squad were either Test specialists or they don’t play in IPL willingly. The list starts from the captain Tim Paine. Star bowler Mitchell Starc had also decided not to play IPL this year even though he had a great chance to make hefty money. In his absence, his teammate Pat Cummins was bought in 15 crores which made him most expensive overseas player in IPL, ever.
Hence the players who don’t play IPL wouldn’t have too bothered about fetching money in the competition. In the same year, the Aussies were humiliated after the infamous sandpaper saga which made them change their approach and play with a different, non typical Australian attitude while trying to redeem their image. That could also be the reason they didn’t take on Kohli however, there was a fair bit of banter involved in the series Clarke was talking about. The stump mic conversations between players had become quite a big deal during that series.
Not to forget that India had won their first ever series in Australia after beating the Aussies 2-1 in that series. Cheteshwar Pujara was adjudged Player of The series.