What Clarke remembers - Ashes loss pain - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

What Clarke remembers - Ashes loss pain

By John Coomber 15/08/2006 05:25:34 PM Comments (0)

Michael Clarke will never forget the pain.

He looked around the dressing room at The Oval last September and saw the faces of his team mates as they tried to comprehend the unthinkable.

The Ashes were gone.

"The pain right at the end," Clarke said when he was asked what he remembered most about that series.

"Being my first Ashes series and knowing the result was nothing like I expected, especially after the first Test at Lord's (where he made 91 and Australia cruised to victory).

"When you looked around the team to see guys that have been playing cricket for such a long time - Glenn (McGrath), Warney - so disappointed."

Clarke knew then that his own career hung in the balance, as he had failed to go on with the promising start at Lord's.

He kept getting out in the 20s and 30s, and when it developed into a full-blown slump in the next three home Tests, the wunderkind was out on his ear.

He got his chance again filling in for the injured Justin Langer in Bangladesh, but Clarke knows scores of 19, 9 and 23 not out against the Test easybeats is no case for retention.

"I've been dropped and now I've got to fight my way back in again."

Clarke, who burst onto the Test scene with a glorious 151 in Bangalore 22 months ago, now believes that getting dropped might actually have been good for him.

"I've realised how hard Test cricket is. I've understood that you can't take things for granted. I've learnt a lot about myself and about the way I prepare best," he said.

"There's no room for missing a training session, not working as hard I can, because if I don't, I won't succeed.

"I think it was probably good for me - as much as I hate to say getting dropped is good for anybody. It's the worst feeling in the world.

"But it gave me the chance to go back and look at my game and reassess where I was at and also have a look at what I achieved at the start of my career.

"I set a few goals after being dropped and hopefully I'm heading in the right direction to achieve those goals."

Clarke took a month off after Bangladesh, spending some of the time hunting and fishing with Andrew Symonds in Far North Queensland.

He's been back in fitness training for 10 weeks and batting in the nets for the past five weeks.

"I feel like I'm working hard enough. Now I'm just really keen to get out in the middle and have a bat."

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