Michael Clarke-planning and preparation | Daily News

Michael Clarke-planning and preparation

Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke

When one reminisce about Sri Lanka Cricket one begins to wonder whether planning and preparation was in place in the recent past, however according to Mohan De Silva the secretary whom I met a few days ago stated that planning and preparation is well underway at their National Development Centre and the details of that I hope to write separately in the near future.

Michael Clarke in his second book Captain’s Diary wrote about planning and preparation as follows. Australia had just lost their third Ashes series in a row and he was the captain. It was the first time in many years that they had lost a series to England without winning a Test match. Three-- nil is pretty definitive Clarke stated.

And yet, he wrote about how the mood was in his team become very strong. Even from outside, observers noticed how unusual it was for a team to go through a 0-3 series result away from home and end up looking stronger at the end than they had at the beginning. Clarke noted that normally things do unravel when results don’t go one’s way on the road. They didn’t. In defeat, they grew tougher and hungrier and more united.

He always had confidence in the boys, and the boys had confidence in each other, Clarke wrote. They knew something about themselves which was not apparent to the outside world. They had not seen all the hard work the boys have put on behind the scenes. Clarke described that work consisted of planning and preparation as much as practising cricket skills. One cannot go out and practise on automatic pilot, as if everything will take care of itself.Practise has to be targeted at strengthening one’s weakness, improving on one’s strengths and perfecting the plans one has developed for one’s opposition.

Their tour of England was a time in which they built and refined plans. For certain batsmen, such as Alistair Cook they settled on their bowling plans quite early and pursued them throughout the Ten Test matches.It was a matter of having the discipline and control to execute the lines and lengths they wanted to bowl. For other batsmen like Ian Bell, who did so well against them in England, they had to revise and create new plans once they were back in Australia.

They bowled differently to him in the five Test matches in Australia, and the results were there to see. For all the English batsman from 1 to 11, they discussed plans, getting feedback from the bowlers and fielders and got them to the point where the bowlers knew precisely what they wanted to do, wrote Clarke.

Landing the ball in the right place together with precise field setting will complement the bowling. Clarke mentioned that he thought out of the book solutions for his field settings. On slow wickets, to a batsman like Kevin Pieterson who mainly plays on the front foot he deployed several catches in the arc between square leg and mid-on.

When the wickets were bouncier, he tried leg slips in a number of placements and a short leg behind rather than in front of square.He drew on all the knowledge he had in their bowlers and fielders. The coaching staff and the past cricketers also helped.He is pragmatic and results orientated and didn’t care how he got there.

Therefore when it came to gathering information and developing bowling plans, his one rule was there are no rules, noted Clarke. Likewise in utilisation of the bowlers the need of the hour took pride of place. He followed his instincts in gauging the length of a spell of a bowler. Mitch Johnson preferred short spells of 3 to 4 overs but Clarke at times gave him 2 over spells as the situation demanded.A captain should strike a balance between planning and letting go of the plan.

One can only improve if one has a script to play from Clarke mentioned.

They did not mean that they were changing their batting philosophy to become more defensive.

IT was not so and one cannot ask David Warner to bat like Chris Rogers (or vice versa); asking a player to deviate from his natural game spell disaster to him. However they should also have a defensive game plan to fall back on tough situations. Clarke also stressed the fact that one cannot always blast your way out of trouble.

If one hark back about the fantastic innings played by David Warner, Chris Rogers,David Watson, Steve Smith and George Bailey they all played attacking shots but there were strong currents of solid defence running underneath them concluded Clarke.


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