Sydney (The Telegraph): Former England captain Tony Greig spoke to The Telegraph at the SCG on Thursday afternoon. The one-on-one focused on Michael Clarke.
The following are excerpts
Q Your take on Clarke's triple...
A The innings says a lot about Clarke... He's a hard worker, both in terms of his game and fitness... He worked very hard in the lead-up to this summer and is aware of what he can do best for Australia. He could've made a lot of money by playing in the IPL and the Big Bash, but decided against doing so. Clarke's priority is Test cricket, the purest form... At the SCG, we've seen a great innings from a man of character.
A wonderful example of leading from the front, isn't it?
Yes... I'd always known he'd be a good captain, because he's a good listener. He's a positive person and that's reflected in his captaincy.
Clarke could've continued to bat and get ahead of Sir Donald Bradman and Mark Taylor, but declared on 329...
He continues to surprise... By putting the team above personal milestones, Clarke's stature has risen.
What does it take to score a triple hundred in Test cricket?
I guess immense concentration, more than anything else.
Not merely because of the number of runs, but would this innings be the defining moment in Clarke's career?
This innings will always be remembered... I'm not sure about the defining moment bit... Clarke will continue to play such good innings... The only question had been if he could produce a really big one. That has been settled. He combines character and temperament, which makes him a special package.
You've talked of Clarke as captain. He's got some legacy to live up to...
But he'd been the vice-captain for quite some time and served his apprenticeship... He loves talking cricket and had the time to be ready for the job.
What has stood out in his captaincy?
That he's so positive.
Where do you see Clarke four-five years from now?
That's an interesting question... I know he wants to get into business at some point and I'm sure he won't be playing till he's 40... Eventually, for him, there will be a life outside cricket. He likes challenges and doing well in business is going to be a challenge.
Do captains have a shelf life?
Yes, but it depends on a lot of factors... Personal form, the team at a captain's disposal... Whether the captain has a role in selection or not... The level of enthusiasm as well.
Clarke has been made part of the selection committee. Is it an ideal situation?
I think so, yes. When I was the England captain, the selectors would ask me to come with my team and there used to be a discussion. A coach, however, shouldn't have a say and his contract should be for as long as the captain's tenure. Both need to get along and if one moves on, so should the other.
Are you suggesting that the coach must be acceptable to the captain?
Indeed. And, if he's removed or quits, then the coach's innings should also end. Unless, of course, the new captain wants the coach to continue.
What do you make of the Ricky Ponting-Clarke relationship?
Ponting's giving his undivided loyalty to Clarke... Clarke recognises that there's so much cricket left in Ponting.
Clarke's quite a family man...
He has immense reverence for his father (who is battling cancer), in particular... The family is very dear to him.
The last one... Isn't it unusual that Clarke's bat doesn't have a sponsor's logo?
That's because he's in the midst of negotiating a new deal, as the one with Slazenger is over. (Smiles) He's timed the triple well, hasn't he?