In a chat with The Indian Express, former Australia skipper Michael Clarke opens up about life after retirement among other topics. Excerpts:
How has been your life after retirement?
It’s been a special time for me with the birth of my child. To be with my wife and baby has been a wonderful feeling. I took all this summer off cricket. I didn’t want to watch or even play cricket. I just wanted to sit back with my family and friends and then reassess (my plans) at the end of the summer. My body feels healthy and I’m still training everyday, just to stay healthy. A lot of people think I have played international cricket for 13 years, but I started cricket at the age of six , so it’s 28 years of cricket. To have one summer off has been fantastic.
Are you missing cricket?
There are certainly parts of the game that I have missed. I have missed the competitive spirit and competing against the opposition. Now I am going to spend some time to work out what I am going to do, like whether I am going to play T20 cricket. I haven’t thought much about it to make a plan. My body feels good and healthy. I am in a really good head space to take some decisions.
How do Australian teams manage the transition of captains so beautifully?
The part of when I retired was about knowing who we were going to play against. We had New Zealand and West Indies in your own backyard. For a new team, it’s a little bit easier to transition than if you were playing India in India.
Do you feel Dhoni has outlived his shelf life as captain?
I think he has so much more to give to cricket, he would like to get some more runs. Everything is looked at closer when you are losing games, but Dhoni is a wonderful player. I was very surprised when Dhoni retired from Tests. He is a big player and you need big players in big tournaments. The Twenty20 World Cup is round the corner.
How do you look at the series from India’s point of view?
I think Australia bowled probably a little bit better. India made almost 300 every game. But they lost (Mohammed) Shami at the start of the series, he is a very good bowler. Is (Umesh) Yadav coming back from shoulder problem? Because the wickets haven’t spun, they have not been able to play (Ravichandran) Ashwin. I think he is an amazing bowler.
Were you surprised they didn’t pick him?
I think they picked their team on conditions. Ashwin is a very, very good bowler in any form of the game.
Why did the Indian bowlers struggled on these wickets?
It has been hard, 300 vs 300. Their has been no movement, it has been a case of one catch or one run out or one mistake. Australia probably made less mistakes. I think India can still hold their heads high. They showed how good a team they are.
Did 300-plus scores in every game surprise you?
Amazing. Flat wickets, two new balls, fast outfields.
Is it the T20 impact?
I think the IPL deserves a lot of credit, especially the way the guys start their innings in the powerplay and go very aggressive because teams are doing that in the IPL, and then teams are making 10 an over in the last 10. IPL deserves a lot of credit for introducing and helping grow T20 cricket. Now you look, Big Bash is like that, because they have learnt from what the IPL has done and have brought it to Australia.
Are ODIs relevant in these times of T20 boom?
I think, T20 has helped one-day cricket, and Test cricket is the pinnacle. I think there is room for all three.