Ex-Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke has said some players have been “like a tumour” on the sport, but denied calling Shane Watson “a cancer”.
Appearing on Australian Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes programme, Clarke addressed many of the controversies that defined his 115-Test career. He spoke about how he thought he was a bad vice-captain and that he had riled former team-mates.
But he also attempted to clarify previous comments about his team-mates. According to leaked court documents, former coach Mickey Arthur claimed in 2013 that Clarke had called Watson “a cancer” on the national side.
But Clarke told the programme: “No, I didn’t say that. I said that there is a number of players, a group in this team at the moment, that are like a tumour and if we don’t fix it, it’s going to turn into a cancer.”
Asked if that applied to Watson, Clarke replied: “Shane was one of those players, yes.”
Clarke also shed light on an infamous dressing-room blow-up at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 2009 after the Test win over South Africa.
Team-mate Simon Katich reportedly grabbed then vice-captain Clarke by the shirt over a disagreement about when the team song would be sung.
He said he had “every reason” to be angry, but “I don’t think my language was appropriate”.
Clarke also revealed that cricket has never been the same for him after the death of his friend and team-mate Phillip Hughes.
Hughes was hit in the neck by a ball in November 2014 and died a few days later. “I guess I probably tried to tell myself that there was a chance he’d be OK,” Clarke said.
“But I think I knew there wasn’t. I spent the whole night talking to him. That breaks my heart the most.
“It was always hard to play cricket after that. I felt fear for the first time in my life when I played cricket.” (BBC)