'Best I played with': Only one Aussie on Michael Clarke's top batsmen list

Michael Clarke and Steve Smith, pictured here during the 2015 Ashes series.
Michael Clarke couldn't find room for Steve Smith in his seven best batsmen. (Photo by Ben Radford/Corbis via Getty Images)

Michael Clarke could only find room for one Australian as he named the best batsmen he payed with or against on Tuesday.

Clarke played with some decorated Australian batsmen throughout his 12-year international career, including the likes of Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Steve Smith and David Warner.

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However it was Ponting who made the cut as Clarke named six international batsmen in his seven-man list.

Speaking on the Big Sports Breakfast on Tuesday morning, Clarke explained why he chose the men he did:

Brian Lara - West Indies

“Probably my favourite batsman through my career,” Clarke said.

“You look at statistics and his average is probably not as high as others names on this list but it was the way he played, whether that it was against fast bowlers or spinners.

“It was the success he had against Australia. That’s the other thing about these batsmen I’ve picked is that they all dominated Australia.

“You think of an attack with McGrath, Gillespie, Brett Lee, Shane Warne — these guys bowling to these batsmen — and they all found a way to have success.”

Sachin Tendulkar - India

“Probably technically the best batsman I ever saw,” Clarke said of the Indian Master.

“The hardest batsman to get out. I think Sachin, technically, didn’t have a weakness.

“Part of you hoped that he made a mistake.”

Virat Kohli - India

“I think right now the best batsman across all three formats,” Clarke said.

“His one-day and T20 records are phenomenal and he’s also found a way to dominate Test cricket.

“What Kohli and Tendulkar have in common is they love making big hundreds.”

AB De Villiers - South Africa

“I’m hoping he comes back and plays for South Africa again. Superstar. Can bat anywhere in the order.

“Dominates T20 cricket. He can score runs anywhere around the ground.”

Jacques Kallis - South Africa

“The greatest all-rounder that I played against.”

“The impact he had against Australia, the way he was able score runs against our attack was extraordinary.”

Michael Clarke, pictured here with Shane Watson and Ricky Ponting in 2012.
Michael Clarke (centre) with Shane Watson and Ricky Ponting in 2012. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Ricky Ponting - Australia

“He’s probably the best Australian batsman I played with,” Clarke said.

“I was lucky enough to play with some great batsmen — Matthew Hayden, Steve Smith, David Warner, Adam Gilchrist, Damien Martyn who was a genius.

“What separates Ricky is the era that he played. Just about every attack had two or three top-line, world-class bowlers and he was able to dominate them.”

Kumar Sangakkara - Sri Lanka

“He seems to be forgotten regularly,” Clarke said of the Sri Lankan.

“Phenomenal. Batted at number three which I think is the toughest position.

“I think he scored three hundreds in a row in a World Cup. Sangakkara was a force and an absolute gentleman of the game.”