Ex-Test star Walters, pacer Hastings back Clarke to answer critics boos

Monday, January 31, 2011

BRISBANE - Former Test great Doug Walters and fast bowler John Hastings have backed stand-in Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke to silence his critics after responding well to what they called a “disappointing” Brisbane crowd on Sunday.

Under fire for everything from his bad form to his use of social networking sites, Clarke was jeered by a packed Gabba when he strode to the crease in Sunday’s one-day clash with England. He ended up scoring a match winning 54 and helped Australia seal a series-clinching 51-run win.

“He batted beautifully and showed that he should be captain of Australia while Ricky (Ponting) is out,” Hastings said in Brisbane on Monday.

He added: “I thought he answered it (boos) pretty well. He made 50-odd off 70-something balls, didn’t he?

Walters - who played 74 Tests from 1965-81 - was at the ground on Sunday and disapproved of Clarke’s “welcome”.

“It’s disappointing that an Australian captain gets booed,” he said.

He added: “And, it wasn’t the first time - it started in Melbourne a week ago when he copped a bit while batting (during game one on January 16).”

But Walters believes Clarke will win back the Australian public by the end of the one-day series which moves to Sydney on Wednesday with Australia holding an unbeatable 4-1 lead.

“If he scores a few runs they (the fans) will forget about it,” he said.

However, Clarke was diplomatic when quizzed about the incident.

Fox Sports quoted him, as saying:”I haven’t performed as well as I’d like, so I don’t blame the public for being disappointed with my performances,” he said after the game.”

Clarke could manage a smile when asked if he thought he was now over the worst of a bad batting trot.

A Cricket Australia spokesman backed Clarke to bounce back to his best.

“It (booing) is disappointing. There’s no one more disappointed about his form than Michael Clarke himself and it was nice to see him get runs yesterday,” he told AAP on Monday. (ANI)

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