Michael Clarke has maintained his dressing room scuffle had nothing to do with former teammate Simon Katich finding himself out of an Australia contract soon after the former succeeded Ricky Ponting as the team captain. Also Read - India Distracted Us By 'Niggling' And 'Creating Sideshows': Tim Paine
Katich grabbed Clarke’s throat during a dressing room disagreement over when the team song should be played in 2009. Also Read - Rahul Dravid Picked Cues From Australian Structure And Created Solid Pool For Indian Cricket: Greg Chappell
And following an ankle injury during the 2010-11 Ashes, Katich failed to make international return as he was axed from the list of centrally contracted cricketers. What made people point fingers towards Clarke was the timing of the decision. Also Read - Cricket: David Warner And Michael Slater Deny Reports of 'Physical Exchange' in Maldives Bar
Now, Clarke has again rejected the claims saying it was a call purely taken by Cricket Australia.
“The three they had to choose (for central contracts) from was Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey and Simon Katich,” Clarke said on an Australian radio show Big Sports Breakfast. “They were going to give contracts to two of those three players and they went with Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey ahead of Simon Katich. So his contract selection had absolutely nothing to do with me.”
In fact, Clarke claims he pushed for Katich’s return during Ashes tour of England in 2013 as Australia needed a reliable top-order batsman. “You are entitled to feel whatever you feel but I can tell you now, on that Ashes tour I fought to have him back into that squad because, I agree, we needed a top order batsman, and his numbers were outstanding over a long period of time,” the 39-year-old said.
Clarke, who played 115 Tests, 245 ODIs and 34 ODIs, and was the captain when Australia won the 2015 World Cup at home, said he understands why the connection between his ascension to captaincy and Katich’s axing were made.
“I understand a lot of people’s question and frustrations around it because it was in and around the time, I had become captain of the team, new contracts had to be done, there was Chinese whispers about what exactly happened in the change room,” he said.
He continued, “I can understand why the public thought, okay now all of a sudden Michael’s become captain he doesn’t like Simon so he doesn’t want him in the team.”
The fact that Katich himself claims that selectors weren’t the only one behind closing the doors has given more credence to the speculations.
“You don’t have to be Einstein to figure out that it’s not just the selectors that had a part in sending me on my way,” Katich had said in 2011. “I mean to be brutally honest obviously what happened in the dressing room here a few years ago didn’t help my cause. And obviously the captain and coach are selectors.”