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Virat is a better ODI batsman, Smith ahead in Tests: Clarke

Wednesday, 13 September 2017 11:51
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New Delhi, September 12: Virat Kohli and Steve Smith are on even keel as far as leadership qualities are concerned, feels former Australia skipper Michael Clarke even though he rates the Indian captain as a slightly better ODI batsman.

Asked who is a better batsman and leader among the two contemporary greats, Clarke observed: "Virat is a better ODI batsman but just about that. Smith perhaps is better in longer format." 

"In terms of captaincy, both are equal and they are improving. At the moment, Virat is on top as his team is winning. But again, irrespective of the number of runs you score, what matters is whether your team is winning matches or not," said Clarke, who is here as a TV expert for the upcoming five-match ODI series.

Harbhajan Singh, during the last Test series, had stirred the hornet's nest by terming the Australian side as the weakest ever to tour India and even predicting a 4-0 whitewash. Australia eventually did much better to lose 1-2.

Clarke was asked the same question about whether this side, led by Smith, is the weakest to tour India, considering it did not even qualify for the Champions Trophy semi-final.

Clarke's sense of humour came to the fore as he came up with a cheeky response.

"I am silly but I am not that silly to give you a front- page headline for tomorrow's newspaper!" he answered with a wry smile as everyone had a good laugh.

On a serious note, he said: "Obviously, this is an opportunity for this Australian side to translate their potential into consistent performance. This team needs to back its talent as there's enough talent in the squad." 

The Indian team has played an aggressive brand of cricket and Clarke did find certain similarities between the two sides led by Sourav Ganguly and Virat Kohli.

"I think there are similarities. Sourav Ganguly deserves a lot of credit for the environment he created. He never took a backseat. MS Dhoni, Anil Kumble and Kohli have all done it in their own ways. The current Indian team is led by an aggressive skipper who does not want to lose," Clarke said during a promotional event. (PTI)


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