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Clarke under pressure to retain spot in Oz Twenty20 squad

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 01:04 PM

Melbourne, Feb.5: Australia's Twenty20 team captain Michael Clarke is under pressure to retain his spot in the squad, given his poor average in this format of the game.

Clarke’s men take on Pakistan at the MCG tonight, where an estimated 70,000 spectators, and a television audience of well over a million, will watch.

Pakistan is the reigning Twenty20 world champion, having won the tournament in England last year after Australia bombed out in the first round.

Given that Australia has won just 11 of the 24 Twenty20 internationals it has contested, its best batsman of the past decade, Ricky Ponting, has retired from Twenty20 internationals, and Clarke has been handed a completely revamped side, anything could happen, reports The Sun.

Given all the circumstances, Clarke must make sure that he performs regardless, or the questions about his place in Twenty20 team will only get louder despite his standing as a fine Test and one-day player.

He has five Twenty20 internationals to mould a side and produce some consistent form before the next World Twenty20 in the Caribbean during April.

While Clarke averages just over 50 in Test cricket and 42.65 in one-day internationals, in Twenty20s for Australia he is averaging just 19.63 with a top score in 15 innings of just 37.

He laughed off the suggestion from Mark Waugh, his former NSW team mate, that he should save his degenerative back for the longer forms of the game and let Twenty20 specialists take charge.

"He (Waugh) is not the only one to say it and everyone is entitled to their opinion," Clarke said.

"I have been open and honest and said my performances in this form of the game have not been as good as I would have liked from the opportunities I have had."

Clarke insisted that he would not become a slogger to make an impression.

"For me it's about batting the way I (normally) play," he said.



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