Tuesday, September 26, 2023

EXCLUSIVE: Michael Clarke Australia’s best 21st century test captain Tim Paine can’t be blamed, says Ian Chappell

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Legendary skipper Ian Chappell overlooked Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Steve Smith and Tim Paine to declare Michael Clarke the greatest test captain of the 21st century in Australia.

In fact, the former hero of the 75 Tests thinks Clarke was tactically the best “by far.”

Chappell’s assessment comes amid the firestorm surrounding Paine’s leadership in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Series.

This debate has resurfaced in Brisbane as rookies Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur brought back a seemingly pulverized India in the fourth test on day three, joining forces for a partnership of 123 for the seventh window.

Australian greats Shane Warne, Ponting and Brett Lee have all questioned Paine’s captain position, while former Indian champion Sunil Gavaskar even called him “no captain in my opinion” and said that ” his days as captain are numbered “.

Scathing criticism has again been sparked by Paine’s decision not to declare Day Four, with the wicket-beater keeper instead waiting for the visitors to take all 10 wickets as Australia worked on their lead.

And this despite the fact that Australia must win the Brisbane Test to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which they have not held since the summer of 2014-15.

But although Chappell doesn’t consider Paine Australia’s best test captain of the 21st century, he said the veteran impressed him at the helm.

“I wouldn’t find much to fault him,” Chappell told Wide World of Sports.

“He has had by far the most difficult job of these captains we compare him to and I think he’s handling it pretty well.

“The harbor master’s office is a very subjective thing. Everyone has their own idea of ​​how you’re supposed to lead a team.

“I think his role as captain overall has been very good.”

Waugh’s winning percentage as captain (71.92) eclipses that of Ponting (62.33), Clarke (51.06), Smith (52.94) and Paine (47.82).

Waugh has skippered Australia in 57 tests, Ponting in 77, Clarke in 47 and Smith 33, while Paine is currently leading his troops for the 23rd time.

But the stats only tell part of the story, and Chappell says Clarke’s positive style set him apart from the rest.

“I think Clarke was tactically the best of them by far. He was trying to win the game with the number one ball,” Chappell said.

“I think it’s important in the harbor master’s office and he was a very imaginative captain. He was not short of ideas.

“I even thought he was equal with Mark Taylor.”

One of the strongest indicators of Clarke’s success as captain is the fact that he is one of only three Australian skippers to lead a 5-0 Ashes whiteout.

Warwick Armstrong achieved the feat in the summer of 1920-21, Ponting in 2006-07, and Clarke in 2013-14.

The cyclone surrounding the Paine harbor master’s office will intensify again if Australia does not recover a victory on the last day at The Gabba.

But Chappell, who led Australia in 30 tests in the 1970s, said Paine shouldn’t let the noise throw him off.

“I’ve never been too worried about what other people think of my harbor office,” said Chappell.

“I established my own criteria and as long as I met them I was happy.”

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