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Expected Gambhir to be in the side: Clarke

Michael Clarke during a practice session, on Friday

Chennai: Australians are known to play mind-games. They contest begins much before the teams take the field. Australia captain Michael Clarke seems to be following the footsteps of his predecessors.

On the eve of Australia’s second warm-up game, against India A, Clarke said that he didn’t expect Gautam Gambhir to be dropped from the Indian Test team.

Though he didn’t agree that mind-games are involved, not everyone is convinced. Speaking at a media conference, Clarke also informed that he and David Warner wouldn’t be playing in the final practice game.

The following are experts

On Gautam Gambhir being dropped from the Test team

I expected Gambhir to be in the Test team… He is a wonderful player and has played for India for a long time now. I think there are a few bowlers in our team who are happy that he is not playing.

He is a wonderful guy and I really like him and I get along really well with him. If he scores runs, I’m sure he will get his chance with the Indian team again.

If they are planning mind-games

It’s not about what you say… It’s about what you do. As a player, as the Australian cricket team, that’s our goal. It’s no good making statements and comments and not backing them up. I’d rather want people to say less and do more, so that’s our goal. Perform well on the field, that’s all we want.

The strengths and weaknesses of his team

The Australian team have no weaknesses at all… (Laughs) I don’t think it will be right for me to sit here and tell you what the Australian team’s strengths and weaknesses are, and I don't think it will be fair to give you the Indian team’s strengths and weaknesses either.

The lack of experience in the current Australian team

hen I first came in when, we had so many experienced players, so many great players… Probably seven or eight players in the team, when I made my debut, were as good as any seven or eight players in the world. We are a lot less experienced now.

On guiding the youngsters in the team

Being a senior player, not just the captain, it is part of your responsibility... As you get older, as you play more cricket, the responsibility is on some of us who have played a lot of Test cricket to stand up and lead from the front, make sure the youngsters are taken along.

On leading the batting line-up in Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey’s absence

Reputation is irrelevant, to be honest, especially when it’s my reputation... I start on zero like everybody else. My last tour to India wasn’t anywhere near as successful as I would have liked. I really enjoy the challenge of facing spin, but it still gets me out, like it is the case with every player. I’ll tick every box off the field in terms of preparation and training and then I will go in and enjoy myself.

If he has spoken to Ponting before coming to India

I spoke to Ricky in Australia, but not about this series.

If he would bowl in the Tests

(Laughs) You’ll see the spin bowling of Michael Clarke, definitely… In Chennai… Five wickets!

On his journey as a cricketer so far

Some good times, when the team has had a lot of success and I have scored some runs, and some tough times

On the playing XI for Saturday

I do have a team for the match: (Ed) Cowan, (Shane) Watson, (Phil) Hughes, (Usman) Khawaja, (Moises) Henriques, (Matthew) Wade, (Peter) Siddle, (Mitchell) Starc, (Nathan) Lyon, (Xavier) Doherty and (Ashton) Agar.

Reason for his and David Warner’s absence

The reason for skipping this game is that Warner and I were injured prior to coming here and it’s in the best interests of the team and us as individuals that we continue to do our work off the field.

On the DRS issue

To me, it’s about consistency… It’s the same for both teams in this four-Test series. Here in India, if we use it, great, if we don’t use it, great… It doesn’t matter to me as the captain of the Australian team. It doesn’t bother any of the Australian players.