'You never know': Pat Cummins adds fuel to Michael Clarke claims

Michael Clarke and Pat Cummins are pictured in a 50/50 split image.
Michael Clarke's controversial comments about Australia's approach against Indian batsman Virat Kohli have been dismissed by bowler Pat Cummins. Pictures: Getty Images

Former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke certainly ruffled feathers with current players, with Pat Cummins joining captain Tim Paine in hitting back at the former skipper.

After the reveal of the Amazon docu-series The Test, which featured a scene in which Paine reminds the team not to provoke Indian captain and fierce rival Virat Kohli, Clarke suggested an ulterior motive for the squad’s newfound niceties.

'LOVE THIS': Cricket world erupts over Aussie legend's photo

'OUT OF CONTROL': Umpire's new claims in Aussie cheating scandal

Speaking on radio earlier in the week, Clarke suggested the Australian’s teams decidedly more sanguine attitude was a sign they had ‘sucked up to India’ - particularly with the lucrative IPL auction around the corner.

Pat Cummins has also taken a subtle shot at Clarke, telling the BBC consistent pressure from Australian media for the squad to change its attitude in the wake of the ‘Sandpaper-gate’ scandal was a far bigger factor.

The strike bowler also alluded to Clarke’s comments about the looming IPL auction.

“I think probably a bigger factor was six months before leading into that Indian series the media and everyone commentating on the Aussie cricket team were pretty clear in their direction in the way they wanted the team to go, and that was playing a little bit less aggressively out on the field," Cummins said.

“I'd say that would have been a bigger factor than trying to win or lose friends out on the cricket field.

“But you never know, that might have been a factor for some players.”

Tim Paine takes aim at former skipper

Current Australia skipper Paine admits that his side deliberately didn't try to provoke Kohli because they think "that’s when he plays at his best".

However, Paine says he's surprised by Clarke's suggestion that the Aussies let Kohli off too lightly.

“I’m not sure who was going easy on him,” Paine told ESPNcricinfo.

“I certainly didn’t notice too many people being that nice to Virat or not trying to get him out or anything like that.

“I thought everyone who had the ball in their hand or when we were batting were trying their absolute best to win the game for Australia.

“We certainly had a thing where we didn’t want to provoke any fight with him because we think that’s when he plays at his best.”