Clarke's in such a good space mentally: Taylor

Taylor said you do better in sport if you’re enjoying it and that gets reflected in the results. The more comfortable you are, the better the chances of succeeding, he said, adding Clarke’s getting the support of his team

Adelaide (The Telegraph): Mark Taylor, a former captain of Australia and a truly outstanding opener, had a one-on-one with The Telegraph on Wednesday afternoon.Michael Clarke celebrates his double century during day two of the Fourth Test Match between Australia and India …

The following are excerpts

Q Did you, at the start of this series, expect Australia to be in the position they are in?

A If I’m to be honest, no. I did expect Australia to win the series, but not as comfortably as they have.

What gave you that confidence?

Watching Australia play in South Africa, at the start of the season... The fast bowlers were coming through well and the team was definitely improving. Because of the bounce in Australia, I knew India’s batsmen would be troubled... That’s how this series has turned out.

But India’s failure has been collective...

Well, yes... The other day, (Gautam) Gambhir said a lot about the wickets in Australia, but India’s bowlers have bowled on the same tracks and haven’t got Australia out for 150, have they? This Australian team has batted better, bowled better and fielded better... I can’t imagine how Sachin (Tendulkar) fields at first slip and (Rahul) Dravid doesn’t.

It’s such a specialised position.

Did India have a plan or only the execution got bungled?

I’m not sure what plans India had, but Australia’s bowlers have been relentless... They’ve been at India’s batsmen in a sustained manner. There have been times when India’s bowlers have bowled well, but they haven’t been consistent and haven’t sustained the pressure. Australia’s bowlers have always asked questions of India’s batsmen. The game plan has been simple: Pitch the ball up and draw the batsmen forward.

One gets the impression that losing the first Test (at the MCG) finished India mentally...

The turning point, in my view, was the opening day at the SCG... Batting first, India managed only 191 and, despite taking three wickets quickly, saw Australia get past 650.

Mentally, the battle was lost that day (January 3).

Captain Michael Clarke has led in exceptional manner. What has been the secret?

Michael’s enjoying where he is at the moment... He’s in such good space mentally... He’s enjoying the captaincy, he’s enjoying his batting... Indeed, he’s enjoying his cricket.

You do better in sport if you’re enjoying it and that gets reflected in the results... The more comfortable you are, the better the chances of succeeding... Michael’s getting the support of his team and the apprehension of some, that there could be a rift between him and Ricky (Ponting), was misplaced.

Will Clarke be a more confident captain after such a successful series?

Michael is a confident person. If somebody had some questions, those questions would’ve disappeared by now... He’s captained in a terrific manner and you couldn’t have asked for more. The first Test (MCG) was a close one... At the SCG, he declared at the right time and made the right bowling changes in Perth. I see him being tested at the Adelaide Oval, though... Australia have runs on the board, but to win 4-0, Michael must find a way for his bowlers to get 20 wickets.

Ponting had been under so much media-forced pressure going into the series. Did you expect him to respond in the manner he has?

Ricky had to work really hard at his batting and he kept at it... He’s got better and better this summer, slowly but surely. He did get a hundred at the SCG, but it wasn’t one of his best... He batted far better here, in getting 221. We won’t again see the Ricky Ponting of 2003, but he’s still good enough to get big runs.

What’s the future you see for Ponting?

Ricky’s going to be more confident now... The issue is that there’s no youngster knocking hard at the door... Right now, in Australia, there’s no replacement either for Ricky or for Michael Hussey. That’s a worry as, at some stage, replacements will be needed.

Ponting and Clarke seem to have a high comfort level with each other...

I’m not in the same dressing room, so I can’t answer with a degree of certainty... What I can say is that they respect each other and respect each other’s position... You’ll never have 11 very good friends in a team, but there won’t be a problem as long as each one of them plays for the team and, in doing so, each supports the other. There’s no rift between Ricky and Michael... But, are they absolutely the best of mates? Probably not. But that’s not important. As I’ve said, what’s important is that they respect each other.

They celebrate each other’s success and that’s what you want from teammates.

Your take on the pressure on Dravid and V.V.S.Laxman?

I reckon they’re still good enough to play, but they can’t do so forever. The critical question is whether there are batsmen who could replace them and do a better job. That must first be answered... Also, when a team is losing, you need fresh faces to rejuvenate it... At the moment, India are very flat.

Could India do better in the T20 Internationals and the ODIs?

They could... For one, (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni is a better captain in ODIs, which is a structured game.

Are you suggesting that India have a different captain for Test cricket?

Not necessarily... (Virender) Sehwag started well on Tuesday, but after the first session, there was no difference (between him and Dhoni)... The field spread out and the batsmen found the gaps... I don’t understand why the point fielder keeps getting pushed back... It’s a catching position.

Finally... What would you tell Sachin?

(Smiles) Sachin doesn’t need advice from me... He’ll get to that hundred once he plays like Sachin Tendulkar... He must not repeat what he did at the SCG, on 80. Sachin has to bat like Sachin.


Also Read:

Clarke joins Bradman, Hammond with big scores

Australia captain Clarke has got his priorities right

Ponting and Clarke score double centuries; India in strife

Ponting, Clarke smash more records

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

The former England batsman will have to lead the franchise as he is out of the match against Bangalore with a finger injury. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

Kiwi all-rounder wants to utilise the India leg to explore the country’s tourist attractions. More »

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Says his mother made him change his mind. More »