Former Australia captain Michael Clarke believes the current team is a victim of trying too hard to be liked rather than respected as it attempts to win back alienated fans. The day after the Aussies wrapped up a 3-0 series win over England before the smallest crowd for an ODI at the MCG – only 10,406 bothered turning up – Clarke expressed some concerns over the direction the national team was headed.
Speaking to Yahoo Sport Australia during a break in his Big Sports Breakfast radio show in Sydney, the former skipper was asked if he agreed Pat Cummins' team was "on the nose" with home fans.
"I think we're asking that every day. We're trying to work out what's going down," he said. "I think there's a lot a lot of people still peed off with what happened with Sandpaper-gate.
"I think a lot of people are peed off with how Justin Langer lost his job and then there's been some stuff off the field with individual players as well. I think Cricket Australia need to be asking the fans what they expect and what they want from us as a cricket team.
"I think the key is to be respected, it's not necessarily to be liked. We care a lot about what people are saying about us. So many things are happening around this Australian team that are un-Australian."
Michael Clarke urges Aussies to get back to basics
Asked how he thought the team could win back disillusioned fans, Clarke replied: "I'd like to see us play some tough cricket, keep trying to win every game we play and respect the opponent.
"If you're on top you crush teams and if you’re behind you fight to get back in front – that's the Aussie way. That's the one thing that players can control, the brand of cricket we play.
"And then I think there can be some work done behind the scenes from Cricket Australia to build that relationship between fans and players."
Australia's two-match Test series against the West Indies starts in Perth next Wednesday.
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