Michael Clarke has taken another swipe at Gerard Whateley, this time taking a leaf out of Serena Williams’ book.
When Serena infamously melted down in the US Open final, she fumed at umpire Carlos Ramos for questioning her integrity, telling him “I have a daughter and I have never cheated.”
On Thursday, Clarke took another shot at Whateley after the sports broadcaster insinuated he had played a part in creating the culture that ultimately led to the ball-tampering scandal.
“I’ve been able to cop a fair bit of criticism throughout my career,” Clarke said on Macquarie Sports Radio.
“But when somebody questions or insults my integrity and my credibility, that’s not for sale. That’s not on — and I made that very clear on social media.”
Clarke said he stood up for himself to make sure his daughter knew exactly the kind of man he is.
“As a father, there’ll come a day when I’m not on this planet, but my daughter will know exactly what I stand for.
“She’ll know a big part of my job as a dad was to teach resilience.
“I’ll make it clear to her I don’t think it’s right or appropriate to attack somebody’s integrity or credibility.
“I think what Gerard has said is completely out of line. To blame me for cheating in South Africa is an absolute disgrace.”
Clarke unleashed a social media rant on Wednesday night, labelling Whateley a “headline chasing coward” for insinuating he had a hand in the cultural failings that led to the scandal in Cape Town.
“Perhaps if he was talented enough or courageous enough to make it onto a cricket pitch he would have a better perspective than from behind a microphone,” he wrote.
— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) November 28, 2018
Whateley claimed the Australian cricket team’s cultural issues could be traced to Clarke’s appointment as captain.
Clarke suggested they should prioritise playing “tough” cricket over being liked.
In the open letter, Clarke listed several “facts” pointing to his stellar resume as skipper all while playing “by the rules”.
He also said many “respected journalists and seniors within the Australian cricket team” had reached out in support of his view on the national set-up’s ethos.
Former opener Matthew Hayden was one ex-teammate to publicly back him despite the New South Welshman’s long-time rival Simon Katich arguing he’d missed the point.
The imposing Queenslander echoed Clarke’s words, saying the team could lose its competitive edge if it stopped playing “hard and fair” cricket.
“You play the game in a spirit that’s a competitive spirit and you don’t play because you want to have a masters in being a good bloke,” Hayden told Fairfax Media.
Hayden said Australia’s cricketers should not be worried about their “brand”.
Paine hits back in Clarke controversy
Aussie skipper Tim Paine has also fired back at Clarke.
“No one has spoken about being liked, certainly by the opposition,” Paine told ESPN Cricinfo on Wednesday night.
“We’ve spoken about wanting to get the Australian public’s trust and make sure that clearly you want the Australian public and cricket fans to like or love the Australian Test team.
“Certainly there’s that aspect, but from an opposition perspective we’re not concerned about being liked one bit.”
Paine pointed out that the Aussies went as hard as they could in the Test series against Pakistan in the UAE, that followed the infamous South Africa series.
“We’re still going to play hard Australian cricket, as Michael put it, that’s not going to change … it’s just knowing at times we might need to pull it back and make sure we’re getting the most important thing right first, and that’s our skill.”