Former Australian captain Michael Clarke opened a can of worms when he said that some cricketers were “like a tumour” on the sport, but denied calling ex-teammate Shane Watson “a cancer”. Appearing on Australian Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes programme on Monday, Clarke spilled the beans on many of the controversies that defined his 115-Test career.
He spoke about how he thought he was a bad vice-captain and had riled former team-mates, but attempted to clarify previous comments about them. “I said that there is a number of players, a group in this team at the moment, that are like a tumour and if we don’t fix it, it’s going to turn into a cancer,” he told Channel Nine.
Asked if that applied to Watson, Clarke replied: “Shane was one of those players, yes.”
Clarke also spoke of an infamous dressing room flare-up at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 2009 after the Test win over South Africa. Team-mate Simon Katich reportedly grabbed then vice-captain Clarke by the shirt over a disagreement about when the team song would be sung. He said he had “every reason” to be angry, but “I don’t think my language was appropriate”.
Clarke also revealed that cricket has never been the same for him after the tragic death of Phillip Hughes, a very close pal to Clarke. Hughes was hit on the neck by a bouncer in November 2014 during a domestic match and died a few days later. “I guess I probably tried to tell myself that there was a chance he’d be OK,” Clarke said.
“But I think I knew there wasn’t. I spent the whole night talking to him. That breaks my heart the most. It was always hard to play cricket after that. I felt fear for the first time in my life when I played cricket.”
WATCH: Michael Clarke’s Phillip Hughes eulogy
(Video Courtesy: YouTube.com/cricket.com.au)
WATCH: When Clarke almost broke Watson’s knee
(Video Courtesy: YouTube.com/Maruf Rahman)