Michael Clarke blasts Australia amid ugly Pat Cummins captaincy backlash

The former Australian captain had some strong criticism for Australia.

Michael Clarke during commentary and Pat Cummins reacts.
Former Aussie captain Michael Clarke (pictured left) has questioned Pat Cummins' (pictured right) tactics as captain during the World Cup. (Getty Images)

Australia has kicked-started their World Cup campaign in horror fashion having lost their opening two games and Michael Clarke has questioned Pat Cummins' tactics as captain. The cricket world has been left questioning Australia's performances so far with India and South Africa dismantling the batting line-up.

The performance in the field has been just as woeful with Australia dropping six catches against South Africa in a display that was labelled 'embarrassing'. In the opening loss against India, Cummins faced questions around his captaincy after turning to spin when his quicks were well on top.

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Cummins' captaincy once again came into question against South Africa with his defensive fields garnering the frustration of viewers and former players. Former Australian captain Clarke is a big fan of Cummins and claimed he backs the bowler to shine for the future as the leader.

However, Clarke admitted he didn't think he got the tactics right against South Africa and echoed plenty of criticism that he wasn't aggressive enough with his fields. “I fought harder than anyone for Pat Cummins to be Australian captain and I still stand here and say I think he’s the right man for the job but tactically last night I think he got it wrong again,” Clarke said on Sky Sports Radio's The Big Sports Breakfast.

“He won the toss and bowled, I think he ball chased and I don’t think he was aggressive enough. I don’t think he looked to take wickets. I feel like I’m wasting my breath. The easiest way to slow scoring is to take wickets yet we continue in Twenty20 cricket and one-day cricket, try to prevent runs.

“How is Pat Cummins not bowling in the first 10 overs? Or even if you’re going Glenn Maxwell, like we did, you’ve got to have a slip to the left hander? You’ve probably got to have a bat-pad to the right hander, like you’ve got to look to take wickets early. I love him and I’m more than happy for him to be captain but he’s got to do some work on that.”

Pat Cummins walks off with the team.
Pat Cummins (pictured middle) has come under fire for some of his tactics at the World Cup. (Photo by Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Clarke wasn't the only one critical of the bowler's tactics. During the Ashes, Cummins came under fire from cricket greats for his defensive fields. After the loss to India, Aussie cricket great Mark Taylor also called out Cummins for not showing more aggression in his tactics.

“It becomes a plague because Australia aren’t thinking aggressively enough, they’re waiting for the game to come to them rather than grabbing the game,” Taylor said during Channel Nine commentary. “I always think in one-day cricket in particular, but particularly in the sub-continent, you’ve got to think about getting batsmen out. It’s the best way to keep the runs down.

"The more you think about being defensive [and] saving boundaries, boundaries come." And once again the cricket world questioned his tactics against South Africa when Australia needed wickets to slow them down.

Pat Cummins admits frustration after South Africa loss

Cummins has taken some criticism after the opening two losses, which is the first time since 1999 Australia has lost the opening two matches. Australia have now lost four straight World Cup matches, stretching back to the 2019 World Cup in the UK, for the first time in 48 years.

And Cummins admitted the team needed to quickly fix-up the issues if they were going to stand a chance of qualifying for the knockout stages,

"Probably not much needs to be said tonight. I think everyone's hurting," Cummins said after the match. "We've got a few days ... so we'll regroup, everyone's hurting so we'll try to make amends. There's a few things we need to tidy up."

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