Boos from small minority can’t undermine Clarke’s popularity with Oz public: CA

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

SYDNEY - Cricket Australia has backed Michael Clarke by saying that he did not have an image problem, and dismissed the jeers the stand-in captain received at the Gabba as coming from a “small minority” who would turn once the batsman was back in form.

Clarke’s was welcomed to a smattering of applause; punctuated with derisive boos as he walked onto the Gabba. Almost two hours later, Clarke, who has endured a horrific run of low scores in Tests and one-day matches, departed as Australia’s top run-scorer, making 54 off 74 balls.

CA said Clarke remained one of the most popular members of the Australian team in the eyes of the public despite being booed as he walked to the crease on Sunday.

“‘There’s absolutely no doubt that over the eight years he’s been remarkably popular. At the fundamental core when you look at why do sponsors go to him, it’s because their own research shows he is remarkably popular with the public. At the moment, he’s had a lean summer and he’s getting an earful from the Australian crowd who do that,” CA’s head of public affairs Peter Young said.

Young said Clarke’s treatment was not inconsistent to that afforded to other members of the Australian team this summer.

“Every Australian player you talk to will tell you that from time to time their harshest critics are the Australian fans sitting in the Australian stadia. When a team’s down on form generally their own supporters are the harshest critic,” he said.

Asked if he thought Clarke would receive a more friendly welcome in front of his home crowd at the SCG on Wednesday after he had led Australia to a series victory, Young said: “I don’t know, I haven’t thought about it. Michael’s view is the best thing he can do is let his bat do the talking and our view is that we endorse that.” (ANI)

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